Latvia Boss Calls for Improvement

11.08.2004

Latvia head coach Karlis Muiznieks reckons his team have plenty of room for improvement ahead of the European Championship qualifiers following defeat to Sweden.

Latvia went down 80-73 to the Swedes in an international tournament in Lithuania, Armands Skele top-scoring for Muiznieks' men with 16 points and five rebounds, while Roberts Stelmahers added 11 points and Kristaps Janicenoks 10.

Despite the result, Muiznieks believes his side - without key players Andris Biedrins, Kaspars Kambala, Kristaps Valters and Trojs Ostlers - need not panic just yet as preparations for the qualifiers are only in the early stages.

Muiznieks said: ``We started well, but we are not ready yet for a quality play for 40 minutes.

"I gave all 12 players a chance to play, and every one of them and the whole team can play better. It was apparent that the opponents had more game experience.

"It is not pleasant (to lose), but there is no tragedy - we'll work to improve our play.''

In September, the Latvians will do battle with Israel, Portugal and Bulgaria in Group B for a place in next year's European Championships in Serbia & Montenegro.

Their next warm-up match is on Tuesday against China, with NBA star Yao Ming expected to be in the line-up ahead of the Chinese side's Olympic campaign.


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