Zoran Visic: 'Good defence is enough to get big wins'

Zoran Visic, who recently took charge as the Indian national women’s team head coach, talks about having proper systems, importance of fundamentals and good defence, ahead of the the FIBA women’s Asia Cup, which will commence here on July 23.

Zoran Visic (centre), the head coach of Indian women's team, with assistant coach Shiba Maggon (left) and senior player Anitha Paul Durai.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Zoran Visic is proud of the basketball culture that exists in his home country of Serbia. The European nation has produced several NBA and WNBA stars, and in international tournaments, the national team has frequently recorded podium finishes.

Visic, who recently took charge as the Indian national women’s team head coach, is keen to bring that winning mentality to his new home.

“Serbia is the best basketball nation in the world, after North America. This success has come because we have superb systems in place. We pay great attention to the fundamentals, and I want to implement this with the Indian girls. I like players who are ready to run quickly up and down the court; those who can score fast-break points. But it is defence which is most important of all. Just good defence is enough to get big wins," he said, at a media interaction here on Friday.

Visic, who has over three decades of coaching experience in countries like Serbia, Russia and Romania, is best known for leading Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg to the Euroleague women’s title in 2003.

Assistant coach and former India captain Shiba Maggon stated that Visic has taken a practical approach in his new assignment. “He has adopted an offence that suits our girls. He observed them closely for the first two days, and decided to focus on transition offence. This is best for our girls, as they short and quick. So our game is about speed now, and the girls are working hard to get it right,” Shiba said.

The coaching staff is focussed on putting up a good show at the FIBA women’s Asia Cup, which will commence here on July 23. “I am confident that India will win the 'B' division and gain promotion to elite ‘A’ Division,” Visic said.

The 60-year-old is here on a short two-month contract, which is perhaps not ideal. Asked if he would have preferred a long-term deal, Visic replied, “I’m concentrating solely on the FIBA Asia Championship for now. Once that gets over, I am open to discussions."

In a separate development, it has emerged that American Samoa has dropped out of the tournament. The Basketball Federation of India explained that American Samoa - which was drawn in India’s group - has been unable to raise enough funds to make the trip.