‘Indian women’s team have a chance at CWG’

Indian women’s basketball team coach Zoran Visic says the hoopsters have a fair chance at the grand event later this year.

Visic guided the women's team to a 'B' division gold in the FIBA Women's Asia Cup in July last year.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

In the short time he has spent with the Indian women's (and men's) basketball team, Serbian coach Zoran Visic has taken slow but steady steps to improve their game.

The 61-year-old guided the women's team to a 'B' division gold in the FIBA Women's Asia Cup in July last year and also coached the Indian girls' U-16 team to victory in division 'B' of the FIBA U-16 Women's Asian championship. While Visic is the coach of the country's women’s team, he is also the interim coach for the men’s side.

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In an interaction with the media here on Sunday, the coach said that the women have a decent chance to reach the semifinals of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games (CWG). Excerpts:

On his experience in India

I came here in July 2017. I was hired for the women’s team. But I also coached the men in November. Basketball Federation of India asked me to help with the men’s team as they didn’t have a coach. They are likely to sign a new coach for the men’s team soon.

In the women’s category, we are in 'A' Division in Asia. We have CWG in April and Asian Games in Indonesia around July-August. There is lot of talent and this tournament in Chennai gives an opportunity to identify new talent. I am hoping to pick a lot of players for the pool.

On Serbia-India connection

I am living in Belgrade, the capital of ex-Yugoslavia; now Serbia. In Belgrade I live in Yuri Gagarin Road, named after the famous cosmonaut. It’s between Gandhi Road and Nehru Road. As you see, there is a history of friendship between India and Yugoslavia. So whenever something comes up from India, we will never say 'no'. I remember when Indira Gandhi visited our country, and donated two elephants to one of the national parks.

On Commonwealth Games hopes

It’s almost like Olympic Games with a lot of good facilities and interest from around the world. I don’t want to promise anything. I can only promise hard work. We know each other now. The girls are playing very well. I’m an eternal optimist. You work hard and the results will come. If we beat Jamaica and Malaysia for example, we are almost in semis (of CWG). They are all good teams for sure, but there is always a chance.

The women played really well in Asia Cup. We should continue on a similar path. We played like a team. They have a lot of potential and it will improve. We need to improve tactically and individually. We have enough time to work on these things. There will be a camp in Bengaluru from February as things stand now.