Maties Basketball ready to make history : 2016-07-03

Maties Basketball Men’s coach Zarko Krkeljas speaks to Maties HP about Maties Basketball’s debut at USSA.

What are the expectations for USSA?

“A lot of sweat and fun; when we received our game schedule, we saw that both teams, men and women, were seated in the groups with the teams that were last year finalists, or finished in the Top 8. So from the start we know we are underdogs, and we know that it will a hard battle, especially during the first day where we play two games.

“While most our Maties teams have the experience of being at USSA tournaments, this is something new for us, and playing several games in few days is definitely a new challenge for us. That is why we are training hard in the gym and on the basketball court in order to prepare for any challenges that we might face.

“We will also have help of our High Performance programme that will look out after our players, which will certainly boost our chances. But, even though there is a tough road ahead of us, we are enjoying every moment of this process, and are looking forward to competing in Johannesburg, where we will make every effort to finish in the Top 8.”

How important is the USSA tournament for Maties?

“This experience for the club is enormous as it gives us an opportunity to play with the best teams in the country. This will also offer a new perspective for each player to reflect on their hard work, and what they have accomplished as a result, but also how much more they have left to go.

“Relative to our goals, we have already accomplished our primary goal for the season – qualifying for USSA. Now, players have also set the team goal for USSA, and that is to make the Top 8, which qualifies us for Varsity competition.

Are the players using the making history factor for motivation or don’t you think too much about it?

“During this tough preparation period of studying for the exams, and fully committing to training, players do need some motivation to keep them going, and I am sure that they are using the momentum from the USSA qualifiers, and the prospect of competing with the best teams in the country, to push them through. However, they are also aware of the tough road ahead, and the fact that we are competing against the 15 best teams in the country. That’s why Coach Aggrey and I are very proud of how players are handling this period.”

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