Joining The Eest-ablishment?

30 July 2010
By Paul Nilsen

The influential Merike Anderson believes Estonia must do themselves a huge favour and help to raise the profile of Womens basketball in the country by realising their dreams of promotion to Division A - even if it would mean moving way out of their natural depth on the court.

The former EuroLeague Women player has spoken ahead of the first game which tips-off this Sunday against Albania in Tallin and was candid in her assessment of the gulf between the respective Divisions.

"I think Division B is at this moment a very good level for us because if we get Division A status then we don't have any chance to do anything there." explained Anderson.

"However, while perhaps the top level is a little too high for us but of course all players and our coach still hope we can get to Division A."

"This is a dream and if we get there, then the Estonian Womens national team will get more attention which is very important for Estonian basketball."

Anderson is delighted with the fierce competition for places this summer in the Estonian squad which hasn't always been the case during previous attempts to reach the top flight - something that bodes well for the next few weeks.

"This year we have for the first time, a lot of competition in terms of who might get into the team. We had 19 candidates and the coach for the first time has had a lot of players to pick the final 12 players in the team."

"Usually we have only had 14 players and now we have even had five players who study and play basketball in the United States."

"We also have a lot of players who are playing this year in Europe (not particularly at a high level, but still getting experiences outside of Estonia) and also as usual, a lot of players from the Estonian League."

"Also for the first time we don't have a problem with our post players since there are five to choose from this year - usually we have only 2 players."

When it comes up to weighing up the teams chances of reaching the semi-finals and competing for that coveted place in the top flight, Anderson is equally positive and has laid down the marker of runners-up in the Group as the realistic aim.

"We played a couple of years ago against Bosnia and Herzegovina and we lost. Against Luxembourg we seem to play every year and we beat them in almost every game by about twenty points."

"Albania and Switzerland are for me I think about the same strength as us. I think we have very good group and very big chance get second place after Bosnia in our group."


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