|20 June 2009|
By David HeinAfter losing four straight games and failing to qualify for the 2010 FIBA World Championship Women, Latvia national team coach Ainars Zvirgzdins announced he will be stepping down from his post after the 2009 EuroBasket Women.
"First of all, I want to say sorry and apologise to all the supporters. I will not be the head coach anymore. When the team loses, it's always the head coach's fault. And I recognise that," Zvirgzdins told a press conference following Latvia's 68-66 overtime loss against Italy in the Classification Round.
"I want to thank the girls for their great two years. Thanks to all and I hope the best for the future of Latvian basketball."
The hosts Latvia won their first four games but dropped their next four contests and will face off against Slovakia for seventh place in Riga.
Zvirgzdins said he will step down after the game. Officials at the Latvian Basketball Federation would say only that Zvirgzdins contract expired at the end of the championship at which point they had planned to assess his future.
The 50-year-old Zvirgzdins helped the women's team return to prominence by guiding them to fourth place at the 2007 EuroBasket Women, which enabled them to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.