Buceta Takes Bulgaria Reins


Bulgaria have handed reins to their women's national team to Spaniard Jose Maria Buceta.

The former Spain women's coach has signed a four-year deal and replaces Nikolay Boroukov, who guided the Bulgarians to a third-place finish in January's Additional Qualifying Round for the EuroBasket Women in Latvia.

That result wasn't good enough to book a place in the Final Round.

"I've been to Bulgaria several times and have always been impressed with Bulgarian basketball," Buceta said.

"It is a great challenge for me to start this project. I came here because I met people in the federation who are really very enthusiastic about women's basketball in their country."

The women's game in Bulgaria once enjoyed a lot of success.

Everyone was reminded of the tradition at a ceremony in February to mark Bulgarian basketball's 90-year anniversary.

Levski Spartak won the Ronchetti Cup three decades ago and then captured the European title again 1984.

Two decades ago, Bulgaria's women captured a bronze medal at the EuroBasket Women.

The women's national team had earlier played at the 1976, 1980 and 1988 Olympics.

Buceta, who was educated as a sports psychologist, gained a solid reputation in basketball while building up the Spain women's team ahead of the 1992 Olympics and coaching them to fifth-place finish.

He then coached in the women's club game in Spain.

Buceta will not only work with the senior team, but also the junior women's program.

"For me - it is my life," Buceta said.

"It is a great pleasure to work with people who have the will for development. I want to help with all my knowledge.

"I know that there is good potential and want to help."

The president of the Bulgarian Basketball Federation, Mihail Michov, says the organization is committed to making the women's team a success again.

"We will look with great attention to women," he said.

"It is very important that the contract is for four years. This is the beginning of our project - Bulgarian Women Basketball.

"We want to do the same we did with the men in getting Pini Gershon in the national team.

"We have dreams - maybe not for the London Olympics but why not for the next Games?

"The first goal is EuroBasket 2011 although it is the goal which Buceta set by himself alone."

Buceta is ambitious.

"It is not important to develop only national team, but the whole women basketball," he said.

"That is my aim. I want to share my ideas with the clubs, share my knowledge with the coaches. Women's basketball needs more motivation.

"That's why I will stay in close touch with the under-18 and under-20 teams.

"I hope, when I leave Bulgaria, its basketball teams win a lot of medals on every level."

Dedication to the women's game cannot just come from the federation, he said.

"It is important to make a stronger league, to make young players develop and to get ready for the big basketball," said Buceta.

Buceta is to organize coaching clinics and camps for young players to help them in their development.

Additionally, he plans to visit all the European Championships for young players where Bulgaria are participating this summer. He is looking for those who are hungry for success.

"Why should I stay realistic?" he said.

"I don't know about London, but it is possible to qualify for the Olympics in 2016.

"I need players with ambition, players who want to be on the top level, to be someone in the European basketball."

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