Sweden’s Stopper

15 August 2012

9. Thomas Massamba (ETHA Encomi)
Point guard Thomas Massamba has no problem with being Sweden's blue-collar worker on the court, as long as it helps the team win

Thomas Massamba understands what his role will be with Sweden this summer. It will be the same as last.

The 27-year-old is first and foremost a defensive stopper, one who is intent on being as disruptive as can be for the opposing playmaker.

The 1.85m point guard relishes the task.

"This is my role in the national team," he said.

"It's nothing new.

"I don't do much on offense. My job is to put pressure on the other team's point guard, to set the tone for the team."

Sweden open their EuroBasket Qualification Round account at Bulgaria on Wednesday.

The aim is to finish among the top two sides in a Group B that also includes Germany, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.

Otherwise, the Swedes will need to be among the four best third-place teams in the six groups to advance to Slovenia, where the Final Round will be played.

Sweden and Massamba came into this summer with a lot of confidence because in 2011, they developed into a very good squad.

"The lessons learned last year is that we must play as a team," Massamba said.

"We had no stars, but played as a team and were very hard to beat.

"Now we have (stars) Jonas Jerebko, Joakim Kjellbom and Christian Maraker, but we still have to play as a team.

"The game against Bulgaria is as important for us as for them.

"We know they will put pressure on us, we know that the fans will bring life (to Bulgaria) and that most are against us, so we must stick together and make each other stronger."



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