Fleverakis Aims To Bring Respect To Swedish Team

26 December 2005
By Guy Atkinson, PA Sport

Kostas Flevarakis is determined to make Sweden's national side a more professional and internationally respected outfit after having his contract extended this week. 

The 36-year-old Greek, who took the reins of the men's team in March and attempted to steer them into the EuroBasket, led them to just one victory in four games.

Instead, Sweden had to play a relegation tournament and Flevarakis guided them to victories over Poland and the Netherlands to safeguard their Division A status.

Having avoided relegation, they will have a chance to qualify for EuroBasket 2007 over the next two summers.

"We don't just need to improve as a team, but Swedish basketball in general needs to improve," he said to PA Sport.

"I hope to bring a sense of professionalism to the team, which will mean many hours of practice and dedication from all the players.

"I have planned many years into the future as I do not think success can be achieved overnight. I want players in my team who are honoured to play for their country. I would rather have players in my team with less talent but it only matters that they care about playing for their country."

Flevarakis took over the national side from Jan Enjebo after enjoying a successful spell coaching Stockholm side Akropol.

Flevarakis has coached at the highest level in the club game in Greece - at PAOK Thessaloniki in 1998 - and his experience suggests he is perfectly positioned to observe the vast differences between the sport in both countries.

"In Greece you are brought up in a professional environment which you will use at all levels of the sport," he said.

"Here in Sweden things are not so professional, and junior players need to be brought up in a professional manner if we are to become a successful side."

Flevarakis knows he needs to be on good relations with clubs in Sweden.

"Co-operation with clubs and managers is going to be vital if we are to make progress," he said.

"Communication with managers is good at the moment."

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