Lopez Has Hands Full With Two Roles In Portugal

06 October 2009

Moncho Lopez is fully embracing two major challenges as a coach in Portugal.

The Spaniard, who signed a contract extension with the Portuguese Basketball Federation after the EuroBasket Additional Qualifying Round (AQR) , is also in the first season of a two-year deal as boss of FC Porto.

He guided Porto to a 96-65 triumph over Maia Basket at home in their first official game.

"We have created the best possible group we could and now we have to work a lot to achieve our aims," he said of Porto.

"We have a competitive group. It's different coaching a club compared to a national team.

"The timing of work and planning is different but I feel confident in both my roles."

Lopez, who was the coach of a silver-medal winning Spain side at EuroBasket 2003 in Sweden, was hugely disappointed to miss out on this year's EuroBasket.

In his first year in charge, Portugal lost their first three games in Division A but he engineered a three-game winning streak which earned the Portuguese a place in the AQR.

Belgium beat  Portugal to top spot in Group A of the AQR, though, before France defeated the Belgians to claim the final ticket up for grabs for the EuroBasket.

"The results did not meet our expectations but I was satisfied with the sacrifice and effort placed by the team that gives us positive vibes for the work we will carry out next summer," he said.

"We will try to qualify for EuroBasket 2011 and guarantee that the team remains in Division A in Europe.

"It is evident that the departure of (captain) Jose Costa, Nuno Marcal and Sergio Ramos will force us to increase the group of players for selection and our eyes are placed on the Under-20 team.

"The core of the team will remain the same and I expect the more veteran players to transmit to the new players the values and virtues that the team has shown."

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