|28 February 2012|
Good Angels Kosice have fired coach Stefan Svitek.
The surprise decision has been made by owner and general manager Daniel Jendrichovsky, who cited a breakdown in communication and a "loss of mutual trust" with the man who has grown in stature at the club for the past several years while making Kosice a regular in the EuroLeague Women play-offs.
This season may have been his finest performances since Good Angels won five of their last seven games in Round 1 to clinch a third-place finish in Group C.
But the beginning of the end for Svitek came in the team's last home game in the EuroLeague, when his team won the game, 70-61, a result that set up a likely Round 2 encounter with Russian heavyweights UMMC Ekaterinburg.
In an interview posted on the official club website, Jendrichovsky had instructed Svitek to not win by more than four points because that would have likely given the team a more favourable opponent in Round 2 than UMMC.
Good Angels, despite pushing UMMC hard in Game 1 in Ekaterinburg, lost that contest, 61-55, before returning home for Friday's second leg and falling, 75-49.
"Maybe many will not consider this to be the right decision," Jendrichovsky said in the interview," and certainly it was not easy because Stefan Svitek during his nearly seven-year operation raised the quality of the team.
"Currently, however, we have a large communication barrier and also the loss of mutual trust.
"With the development of competition and the fact that we did not want to play in the play-offs against Ekaterinburg, however, we had to win the match by only four points," Jendrichovsky said.
"The coach knew it, was given clear instructions, but decided otherwise."
For his part, Svitek says to execute such a strategy was difficult and it also went again his sporting values.
He said to Basketball World News on Tuesday morning: "They told me before the game that I was only supposed to win by four points or something like this and I said, 'first of all, I don't know how to do it, to win a EuroLeague game by one or two points.
"Second, it's against my coaching and sportsman philosophy that I have to manipulate the result, or something like this. And I cannot tell my players to play bad. We were up in the last quarter by 15 points. We were playing well, the game had been very tough in the first quarter, the first half, we were up by 10 and then it was equal again.
"Finally in the second half, we were playing well and were up in the last quarter by 15 points, so what I am supposed to tell my players, 'make a turnover' or ‘don't shoot'? Or ‘shoot an airball'? It's ridiculous.
"From this moment, the owner of the club stopped talking to me. Nothing. There was no more communication.
"He said it was my fault that we had to play against Ekaterinburg although at the time, it wasn't absolutely clear that we would play against Ekaterinburg. There could have been a different result in the Sparta&K v Montpellier game that would have put us into another game against another team."
Svitek says he has not spoken to his players, yet, since the team did not practice on Monday.
However, he will see them on Tuesday night and plans to wish them well for the remainder of the season.
Svitek is now without a club job but he will be in charge of Hungary's national team this summer.