EUROBASKET WOMEN QUALIFIERS
|Zsófia Fegyverneky is rarely caught off balance on the court, but right now she finds herself in an uncertain situation because of a foot injury |
By Paul Nilsen
Hungary national team guard Zsofia Fegyverneky is locked in a race against time to be healthy and firing on all cylinders ahead of the big tip-off next month.
Should she miss out on any of the EuroBasket Women Qualification Round action due to a troublesome foot injury, it would represent a significant blow to Hungary and their new play-caller Stefan Svitek who has been tasked with guiding the team to France next summer.
Having played through the pain barrier in the Hungarian league Finals, Fegyverneky is confident she can make it and was quick to acknowledge that it will be Svitek rather than herself who can have the biggest impact on the team's chances of reaching EuroBasket Women 2013.
"Our new coach has worked with Good Angels Kosice for many years," she said.
"He has Euroleague Women experience and also speaks Hungarian, so I think we will find the team chemistry we need so we can be successful with him.
"I think the most important thing this summer, is to understand that everybody has to find her respective role in the team.
"So I don't want to say one or two players will be important since we need 12 people and if everyone can give something, then I am confident we can compete with any team," continued the versatile guard.
"We have players who have played Euroleague Women for many years so we have the quality and experience but we just have to put finally put everything together."
Hungary certainly do have a strong looking roster although, rather wisely, Fegyverneky isn't taking anything for granted in a competitive group A and especially off the back of such a disappointing qualifying campaign last time.
During 2010, Hungary finished with just two wins from six games and scraped into the Additional Qualifying Round last summer where they turned things around and looked strong favourites to progress before crashing against surprise package Germany.
"Everything had been great going into our group and we had won every game, but then we had injuries and against Germany we had two really bad games," she recalls.
"It was enough for us to miss our flight to Poland although we don't want to think about last summer anymore.
"I think in our group this year, nobody can tell who will catch the first two spots.
Fegyverneky then commented on Hungary's rivals this summer: "We met Ukraine last summer and it was a hard game - plus they will have some new names on the roster.
"Belarus always have a great team and in the last few years, it was not Eurobasket Women without them.
"It's always really difficult to play against any Israel team if their two guards -Cohen and Doron - run the offences.
"Meanwhile Portugal has never been to EuroBasket Women but I am sure they will do everything they can to try and get there, so I think there could be some big surprises in this group."
Of course there is something of an added dimension for Hungary in that they will host EuroBasket Women in three years and so reaching next year's Final Round takes on additional significance as they try to build momentum for what promises to be an exciting few years in the build up to becoming hosts.
"We want to build a really good team in the lead up to 2015 and that means us making good results, particularly at home.
"It will be so important for Hungarian basketball that we perform and the first step is definitely to qualify for France."