Tsitskaris 'We´ll continue to work hard until the Olympic Games'

PA International Patras

Greece coach Giogos Tsitskaris knows a sure fire way to accelerate the progress of the women´s national team.

Having just watched his side win their second game of the European Championships 76-68 over Ukraine, Tsitskaris told PA International: "If we could play as a club for a year, against other clubs in Greece, we could be much better."

That would be true for a lot of national teams, though. Tsitskaris will have to make do with playing friendlies and using that smaller space of time to mould his players into a solid unit.

The evidence of this tournament suggests that Greece can be a force in the women´s game. Next summer may be too soon, however.

Greece played two formidable sides extremely tough in these championships, losing by just five to both Serbia & Montenegro and France.

They have tasted victory on two occasions.

They annihilated Israel in their Group A game and their other triumph came against  Ukraine - a contest to determine which side will take part in the game to decide ninth place.

Friday´s win showed the best of Greece, and the worst.

Tsitskaris´s players were in command by half-time, leading 47-28, but a lack of discipline allowed their opponents to claw their way back.

Ukraine outscored Greece 26-10 in the third quarter and trailed 57-54.

Greece regrouped and held on for the victory to keep Ukraine winless in the tournament.

"I believe we have played very well in this tournament," Tsitskaris said. "The first game against the Czechs was tough but they are very good and no one has beaten them.

"Against Poland, we play well for 26 minutes and ran out of steam.

"The last three games we played well but we didn´t have the help of any spectators."

Tsitskaris added that his team may have qualified had they competed in Group B.

"Our group was very difficult," he said. "If we had played in the other group, you may have seen better results from us."

Just how good Greece will be next year is anybody´s guess.

Tsitskaris says his players have struggled to change their roles from the ones they play for their clubs and that if he were in charge of them all year, they would understand his instructions better, and have more rhythm with their team-mates.

As it is, Greece will have to continue to prepare for next year´s Olympics with friendly games.

"This is the game. We´ll continue to work hard until the Olympic Games."


21.09.2003 - Jeff Taylor PA Sport

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