Coach Aleksandar Petrović Opens up After the Olympic Qualification

Total Croatia News

The Croatian basketball team has returned home to Zagreb after securing yesterday a place at the Olympic Games in Rio

After victory in the final game against Italy, the Croatian team headed back to Zagreb by bus and arrived at noon to the traditional meeting point – hotel Panorama. Their most faithful supporters met them and after greetings, autographs and photos, selector Aleksandar Petrović held a press conference, as reported by the Croatian Basketball Federation on July 10, 2016.

“We are happy as we have done something incredible in a short period. After three weeks of training and a tournament that didn’t look promising in the beginning. We achieved something I only grasped about 14-15 hours after the game – entering the 12 best teams in the world in basketball. I must admit this is something that fills me with adrenaline. These guys played great not only last night, but against Greece and Tunis. We showed power, knowledge and what’s most important – these guys can play, they have a sense of belonging… They know how to have a great time and this return from Torino was long, but one of my most enjoyable trips home. Not just because we made the Olympics, but because of their charm, jokes, belonging to the Croatian national team – for this I am proud,” Petrović stated.

Darko Planinić was at the press conference with the selector and Croatian Basketball Federation president Ivan Šuker, and the selector explained why he asked for Planinić specifically to be there:

“Because he is the embodiment of a new relationship to the Croatian jersey, to the team. We’ve had great problems with players responding. When I called Darko and told him to come help the team, he showed up the next night in Sv. Martin. I believe this is the light motive – we were a team, we had an idea and that’s why my heart is still,” Petrović added.

He talked of other team members too:

“We have the tour MVP, best executor Bojan Bogdanović, we have one of the best creators in Simon, but what’s not evident, what’s been behind the curtains these 32 days… We all pulled together to get our basketball out of the mud, me and the legends (Kukoč, Rađa, Stojko Vranković) and I hope with this result we have begun the work and can announce even better things.”

Why is this Croatia team different?

“Because it has kinship and defence. To play such a game against the Italians, in front of 15 thousand spectators where a stability was felt that wasn’t around for the last ten years – Croatia has that!”

Olympic Games?

“We expect to enjoy the Olympics to the limit. There is a more humane rhythm of games – every other day. We have five guaranteed games, we’ll see tonight who our opponents are. But our trademark is to put a smile on our face, a knife in our mouths and get in a fight, whoever the opponent is.”

The Croatian team travels to Argentina on July 26 to prepare, after meeting in Sv. Martin on July 20.

We have three friendly games with Argentina, arranged two months ago. So, there was a feeling that we could make a miracle happen.”


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