There is no hiding the fact that India is the lowest-ranked team at 52 among the eight countries taking part in Division-A of the FIBA Asian women’s u-18 basketball championship to be held at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium here from September 5 to 11.
While the top four teams from here will qualify for the FIBA u-19 World Cup to be held in Madrid (Spain) in July 2023, India, at best, will hope against hope to finish in the top-8 and remain in Division-A.
“The cream of World basketball and not just Asian basketball is here. It will be a big challenge for India. Six teams are too good as they are all world class teams. Between Taipei and Indonesia, Taipei is stronger. The only way to remain in Div.-A is to beat Indonesia,” said Veselin Matic, head coach of the Indian men’s team, after watching the Chinese and Korean teams practice here on Sunday. According to Matic, the Indian team has to shrug off the ‘lack of aggression’ mentality if it has to improve.
Arnika Patil, the head coach of the Indian women's u-18 team, knows the uphill task at hand for her girls. “The players are excited and there is lot of anxiety as well. We had a camp for 45-60 days here. We didn’t have much exposure due to COVID-19, but we will do our best,” she said.
Anitha Paul Durai, assistant coach and a veteran of nine Asian women's championships, said the best aspect of the team is that all the 12 players are equally good. “We have two extraordinary players in Sathya Krishnamurthi and Manmeet Kaur,” she said.
Arnika and Anitha felt that to develop the juniors, the need of the hour is to have good scouting system, strong development camps backed by solid camp for the squad.
The matches in Division-B will be played in Koramangala here.
Division-A: Group-A: India, Australia, New Zealand, Korea; B: China, Japan, Taipei & Indonesia.