Hejkova Handed Reins At ZVVZ USK Prague

04 November 2012
Natalia Hejkova is looking forward to a return to ZVVZ USK Prague after the Slovakian coach replaced Ivan Benes over the weekend with her predecessor paying the price for a slow and disappointing start to the season.

Natalia Hejkova
Natalia Hejkova, one of women's basketball most succesful coaches, returns to take over at Prague, a place she graced as a player
The Czech club has lost both of its' opening EuroLeague Women Group C games, going down at home to Perfumerias Avenida and on the road at Galatasaray, something which could prove costly in what looks to be the most competitive and difficult first round group.

This may have influenced the decision of club bosses to act swiftly and especially since a 0-3 start is now a distinct possibility with UMMC Ekaterinburg next on the agenda - a fact not lost on General Manager Marek Kucera.

He said: "There's a tough game against Ekaterinburg awaiting us but there are other teams we can compete with.

"Since we were not satisfied with the performance of the team, we did not want to wait until the next EuroLeague Women game in order to make this change.

"We decided to do it now, to at least give the new coach some time with the team."

Benes was put into post in the wake of the decision of the long-serving Lubor Blazek to focus solely on Czech national team duties. But, having failed to make an impression, it has resulted in an early exit.

That means almost eleven months since she was shown the door by eventual champions Ros Casares, Hejkova is back pacing the EuroLeague Women sidelines - something which has unsurprisingly, left the play-caller absolutely thrilled but already digesting what looks to be an inevitably difficult road ahead.

"I am happy I've got this chance to be back in EuroLeague Women of course, but this challenge is really interesting and hard," admitted the experienced coach.

"The schedule for the next month is tough, UMMC Ekaterinburg and then four games away.

"We need to get back some points and some wins, especially after our home loss to Avenida.

"Having already lost to Brno, we must also not lose any more games in the Czech Championship.

"Everything will need to be done on the run, I need to work fast in order to get the team together, to have some fun and to get a result.

"Some players know me, some do not, but they are professionals and they are experienced - that's why I am looking forward to start working with them.

"Interestingly, I came to this big basketball club, as a player during my time as a student and I spent seven successful years there.

"So, I am back at what I consider to be my basketball home town and club after so, so many years away."

The first five games for Hejkova will see her pit her wits against UMMC Ekaterinburg on Wednesday followed by a quartet of road trips at Novi Zagreb, CCC Polkowice, USO Mondeville and Perfumerias Avenida.



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