From PA International, Kosice
Zuzana Zirkova’s main concern ahead of the European Championships is that Slovakia play good basketball.
Never mind the defeats which have come frequently this summer and helped create an atmosphere of doom and gloom.
“It feels like everybody is against the national team and it is not good, but it is not my problem,” said the guard who averaged almost 16 points a game in three of Slovakia’s qualifying games.
“I have to concentrate on good performances - that is my job.”
Zirkova was Slovakia’s best player in the Grand Prix Slovakia last week, but she was not enough to bring a handful of wins.
Slovakia prevailed just once, against Bulgaria (74-54), and finished fourth in the tournament.
Among the defeats for Zirkova and her side was the 79-77 setback against the country’s ‘B’ team.
The tournament also included Greece and Poland.
“I feel that we are playing better and better,” said Zirkova, a solid performer in the FIBA Euroleague with Gambrinus JME.
“We lost close games in the tournament in Kosice but that isn’t important. Our form must improve before the European Champs in Greece - that is the most important thing.”
The summer has raised some concerns about the short-term future of the game in the country.
“There are some problems in women's basketball in Slovakia - we could see it in the tournament in Kosice when we played against the “B” team,” Zirkova said.
“We should play for the medals in Greece and for the place in Olympic Games but our situation is not very good.”
Hungary coach Laszlo Ratgeber has commented frequently in recent weeks about his lack of low post players.
Slovakia appear to have the same issues.
“We have problems with centres, for example,” Zirkova said. “We are a young generation.
“But I think that we will fight more than 100% in every game for sure. The most important thing is to play good basketball and we will see if the medal will come after that.
“We must believe in our skills and we will do our best for success in Greece.”