EUROBASKET WOMEN 2015 2ND QR
|"Even if we do not expect (big things), we will once again have the warrior spirit and an exemplary work ethic." - Portugal Women Head Coach Ricardo Vasconcelos |
Portugal may have gone winless last summer but head coach Ricardo Vasconcelos is hoping his team's fighting qualities can help them improve in next month's EuroBasket Women 2015 2nd Qualification Round.
The play-caller will pit his wits against Estonia, Italy and Latvia in a bid to cause an upset and get his team to Final Round in Hungary and Romania next year.
"I have always had full commitment on the part of all the athletes who have been available to represent the national team," said Vasconcelos, who is a member of the FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate (FECC) class of 2013-2015.
"While it is true that we have not had the number of wins that we would have liked, the fact remains that year after year, to play us and to beat us has been very hard and difficult for our opponents.
"There have been very few games when we were not competitive.
"So even if we do not expect (big things), we will once again have the warrior spirit and an exemplary work ethic."
He continued, "Having said that, we aim to stay in the top two and fight for a place at EuroBasket Women and this must be the goal and kind of boldness that we must demonstrate when we participate during the qualification games.
"It is also clear that there are still two big unknowns.
"The first is how we go and deal with the absence of our players and the second will be what kind of selection Latvia has.
"Coming up ahead, we will be able to get a better idea of our possibilities in our qualifying group."
The biggest challenge facing Vasconcelos is the imbalance in his squad which is due to a shortage of wing players and those who operate under the basket - starkly contrasted with the wealth of guards at his disposal.
He stressed, "Yes, the national team has a big problem with the lack of players in the three position.
"There are no national players (naturally) featuring in this position.
"The second big problem is that between injury problems and college, we are always reduced to two or three players in the paint."
"Our preparatory period is also very limited and even when we see players try to advance on the court, it's difficult to impose the mind-set that we want for the national team."
Portugal open up their campaign with a trip to Latvia on Sunday 08 June.