|06 July 2013|
|"For our team it will be difficult, but for the fans, it is an extremely attractive group" - Good Angels Head Coach Maros Kovacik|
In the wake of the EuroLeague Women 2013-2014 draw, those involved with the various participating clubs have been reacting to what now lies in wait during forthcoming months.
There was universal agreement that Group A appears to be the most challenging for those teams within it, since it contains 2012/2013 Final Eight winners UMMC Ekaterinburg, Good Angels Kosice, Tango Bourges Basket, Uni Gyor, Kayseri Kaski and Famila Schio.
However, Paulo De Angelis, General Manager of Famila Schio, was using his team's inclusion as motivation to reach an even higher level than last season, when the Italian champions reached Final Eight.
He said, "To be drawn in the group with the EuroLeague Women champions and two other semi-finalists of the last edition of Final Eight certainly raises the quality of the game that we need to express to reach our goals this year.
"For this reason, the season will be more intense and hopefully even more spectacular than the last," insisted De Angelis.
"We also don't forget however, that all EuroLeague Women games are difficult and hide snares for us."
Good Angels Kosice play-caller Maros Kovacik won rave reviews for taking his team to the last four of the competition last season and he faces a tough task in continuing the momentum.
However, the coach is relishing pitting his wits at trying to stop some of the finest female players on the planet in Group A.
"With UMMC Ekaterinburg and Bourges, our fans will see players such as [Diana]Taurasi and [Celine] Dumerc. These names speak for themselves," claimed Kovacik.
"For our team it will therefore be difficult, but for the fans, it is an extremely attractive group."
One new head coach looking forward to a rookie campaign in the competition is Serbian Igor Polenek, who has been handed the reins at UE Sopron.
Fresh from helping his nation achieve a historic fourth place finish at EuroBasket Women as an assistant to Marina Malkovic, the play-caller is confident he can guide his team to the post-season - even though they may ultimately lack some experience.
"Overall, the EuroLeague Women season has a pretty optimistic look and I believe that we will be there in the play-offs," said a buoyant Polenek, who will have to match-up with BK Imos Brno, Wisla-Can Pack, Rivas Ecopolis, Nadezhda, Fenerbahce and Basket Lattes Montpellier Agglomeration.
"Our team has yet to be developed in the final frame, so we will see how strong the probability is that we will be the youngest team in the field.
"But, we're going to fight for the play-offs and we respect everyone, but we aren't scared of anybody either!"
Meanwhile ZVVZ USK Prague General Manager, Marek Kucera ,was satisfied with being drawn into Group C, which will see his club compete against Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje, WBC Novi Zagreb, CCC Polkowice, Kibirkstis-VICI, Galatasaray and Perfumerias Avenida.
There will be a familiar feel to the schedule for the Czech side, since they face many of the same opponents as last year and overall, there is an early air of confidence and expectation.
"It is clearly more acceptable to us than the draw has been in past years," smiled Kucera.
"For example, I think that at present Sparta&K are not the same as they were in the past.
"Previously, they were at the forefront of a strong group of Russian teams, which is no longer the case."
"As for Galatasaray, we know them well, but we will see what power they will have. For them, it is always very dependent on finances. Sometimes they are stronger, sometimes less.
"Last season we were able to play them in an even match and we could do it again.
He added, "Overall, I really said that our group is not bad, and I believe that it will achieve good results."
The 2013-14 season is scheduled to tip-off on Wednesday 6th November.