After the surprise defeat of Serbia in Latvia, and before the last meeting of the first round of the qualifications for the world cup against Belgium, the coach Svetislav Pesic warned his country, whose results have been disappointing recently.
“We are preparing for the game against Belgium as best we can. But the continuity of the team is in danger,” the 72-year-old technician told Mozzart Sport. “It is important to note that 23 different players played for the Serbian national team in the two games against Latvia, respectively in Belgrade and Riga. This is proof that there is no continuity.
Serbia have won only 3 of their 5 qualifying matches in a group that is well within their reach with Latvia, Belgium and Slovakia.
“It’s an alarming situation,” added Pesic. “Overall, the situation in Serbian basketball is alarming. We constantly talk about the gold medals of 2001 and 2002. There were great results after that, although many don’t recognize them and I don’t understand why. »
Serbia has been chasing a gold medal since 2002 (world champions), and the recent results of the national team are disappointing: no qualification for the Olympics, and premature elimination at the last World Cup. It mainly calls into question the preparation of major events.
“We live in the past. We don’t see other countries developing,” Pesic said. “The reigning European champions are Slovenians. They also participated in the Tokyo Olympics and went all the way to the semi-finals. We weren’t European champions and we weren’t in Tokyo last summer. Our main opponent, Latvia, also started training on June 15. They provided the conditions to train like in my time. Just take the example of Croatia. It’s a national team that hasn’t won a medal since 1995. I warn you, if things don’t change in Serbian basketball, we won’t win any medals either. There will be no quarter-finals or semi-finals, let alone medals.
I managed the famous Yugoslav national team which won gold in Bormio in 1987 (U19 world championship). During the season, we had evaluation training with these boys. In our country now, when certain training sessions are organized, half of them do not come. This kind of thing does not happen in Spain or Germany, where I was a coach. Everything has changed a lot, starting with Red Star and Partizan. Everything starts from Belgrade. All important things happen in Belgrade. Let’s be honest, not everything was perfect in the national team before. There were problems, but at the time these problems were understood as challenges. This is not the case now. We have to work on it, I’m working on it, I’m trying. Maybe some people don’t like it, but what can I do. I do what I know, and I think I know a lot about it. »
Pesic has to deal with a lot of absences during this window, in particular those of two of the best players: Nikola Jokic and Bogdan Bogdanovic. The latter is injured, as for Jokic, the concern is the limitation of the number of days he can spend in the national team (28 days), and if he had been part of this window he could not make the full preparation for the Euro at least August.
Note that the match against Belgium was to be held yesterday, but after a few minutes of play there was a lighting problem in the Nis room and the match will resume tonight. Serbia must win at all costs, because otherwise they would be in a very delicate position before the next round with a 3-3 record.