by Tapio Joulamo
|Cleopatra Forsman-Goga is expected to be one of the leaders of Telge Basket|
The 2012/13 season is a new beginning for Telge Basket Södertälje, as they reappear in the EuroCup Women.
Although still young, the key players and starters Amanda Zahui, Binta Drammeh (now in the EuroLeague Women with USO Mondeville) and Sally Kabengano have left the squad to seek fame and fortune abroad.
But the club, widely recognised for its ability to produce talent, re-groups with star forward Cleopatra Forsman-Goga in the center.
The Eldebrink twins, Frida and Elin, together with post player Louice Halvarsson and University of Miami guard, Stefanie Yderström, are so far the most famous and successful players to come out of the basketball factory in Södertälje.
They played leading roles this summer when Sweden clinched a spot in next year´s EuroBasket Women, after a stunning qualification tournament, with two sensational wins over Spain.
Both were injured during last year´s EuroCup Women campaign, but the two talented youngsters, only 18 and 16 years old, are now fit and ready to deliver.
After a knee surgery in January, which sidelined her when Telge defended the national title in spring, Cleopatra Forsman is eager to get started and improve last season´s results in the EuroCup Women.
"We lost twice in OT last year, mostly due to the fact that we had to rotate on only six players in most of the games," commented the 21-year old wing player.
"This year, the squad is deeper, so our chances are better. But every game is of course even more important now that we play in a group of only three teams."
Södertälje have also recruited two Swedish internationals, forward Jennifer Stjärnström (1.87m) and
|Regan Magarity, born in 1996 is the youngest member of the Telge Basket squad|
combo guard Josefin Olheim.
Both of them played in Italy last year and bring valuable experience into the young Telge team.
"It will be great to play in Europe again," says Olheim, now co-captain in the team, together with Forsman.
Olheim played with Solna Vikings during their EuroCup Women campaign in 2009, when they advanced from the regular season to be eliminated by Dynamo Moscow in the Sixteenth-Finals.
Those were memorable games for Olheim, an offspring of the Telge basketball program, who now returns after five years of exile. She of course wants to repeat the 2009 success with her new team.
Södertälje have a quite tall team, with five players in the vicinity of 1.90 m, a fact that new coach Bill Magarity comments on:
"We are tall but not "big". As we know, play is very physical on the international level, so the tournament will of course be challenging for our young and rather inexperienced team.
"But although only Cleo [Forsman] returns from last season´s starting five, our first appearance in the EuroCup Women was of course an important learning experience for the players and the club. We now know what it takes to compete out there, so this year, we go for a place in the Eighth-Finals."