By Paul Nilsen
|Zsófia Fegyverneky will not be seen in a Pécs 2010 uniform any more after completing a switch to Sopron|
Hungarian National Team star Zsofia Fegyverneky is hoping to put a disappointing summer behind her as she begins life at the club she used to love to shoot down.
Having been the heartbeat of Pecs 2010, the guard recently made the switch to arch-rivals Uniqa-EuroLeasing Sopron after her former team were forced to drop out of EuroLeague Women due to financial difficulties.
With Hungary having failed to conquer Germany to take the last spot at EuroBasket Women 2011 in addition to the worrying off-court situation at Pecs, it's been a bumpy few months for Fegyverneky and not surprisingly, she is now trying to look forward to her new challenge.
"I guess everybody knows that the move to Sopron was a really hard decision for me but now I'm so happy that I have made it. Uniqa-Euroleasing Sopron is a Euroleague Women team with Final Four experience and they have won many Hungarian Championships."
"I have already played together with many of the players in the National Team - so I think there will be no question that I can fit into the team."
"It was also important for me to stay close to my husband who plays basketball in Hungary too."
"I would like to be one of the leaders of the team on the court. It will be my eighth season playing in EuroLeague Women season so I think I have enough experience."
"I guess I will play little bit more at the point guard position than during the last few years, so I know I have to work a lot on that in this pre-season period."
"We have a good group of Hungarian players and only one foreigner now in Alexandra Kurasova who played in Sopron previously and all of this should be really good for the team chemistry."
"We will be aggressive in defence, run as much as we can and play together"
"Sometimes it can be better this way than having one or two big stars in the team."
The fact that this year's Sopron team will be packed with domestic talent could also have a potentially positive impact on the National Team who definitely need a boost in the wake of their failure to clinch a spot in Poland.
"We were so disappointed. I think everything went well in the Additional Qualifying Round group stage since we won every game. Afterwards, in the play-off against Germany, we had only one problem which was their zone defence. We tried so hard but our three-point shoots just didn't fall that game.
"We were so close to qualifying but we simply couldn't make that last step."
"I think the future can be much better. This generation had really good results when we were at U20 level, so we have to continue the work together and if every player can come back healthy then we can have a good result next time."
"Of course it is also really good for the National Team that more Hungarian players can show up for Sopron in EuroLeague Women this season."
Fegyverneky is thrilled with the new format of EuroLeague Women and believes the way the tournament has been tweaked gives more clubs a greater incentive and belief they can reach the last phase of the competition.
However, when she steps onto the court during October, there will also be a slight tinge of sadness that Pecs won't be represented this year although she has backed her former team to bounce back.
"I think the new system of Euroleague Women is really good for the smaller teams like us. If we can finish in our group in a good position, we will have a chance to fight for the Final Eight which is our dream for this season."
"I do think it is really sad that Pecs can't be in EuroLeague Women this season. We were in the Final Four at Samara during 2005 and now it is the first time, Pecs won't be playing in it.
"I guess to be in this competition, it isn't enough to only work hard on the court, you also need stability off the court too. If they can solve their financial problems and rebuild the team, they can be back in the business soon and I'm sure they're working on that."
Replacing Pecs and flying the flag for Hungarian Women's basketball alongside Sopron will be Seat-Szese Gyor who could find it a tough initiation as they make the step up from EuroCup Women.
"I think for Gyor it will be a hard year, because it is the first time they will play EuroLeague Women but they do have a roster which can compete. They have some good foreigners like Montgomery, Hollingsworth and Ciglar."