Chema excited ahead of Manchester return for key GB qualifiers
Coach Chema Buceta’s Great Britain Women are gearing up for their final EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers of the campaign as they return to Manchester for a double-header of fixtures against Estonia (9 February) and Portugal (12 February).
Fifteen months will have passed since they last played in front of the incredible crowd in the North West at the National Basketball Performance Centre, and those home comforts will be important as GB look to qualify for EuroBasket with their performances in the final two games.
“Manchester is our home court and I am looking forward to us playing there again,” said Buceta.
“We have to win these two games, and the one against Portugal by as many points as possible.
“The task is difficult but with the support of our fans we will be able to do it. The Great Britain team is a team for everyone, and we need a lot of support from the stands to succeed in February. Positive glasses!”
Going 1-1 in the most recent qualifying window last November, the feats of the Women’s National Team earlier in the winter shouldn’t be overlooked. They faced difficult road trips to Portugal and Greece – direct rivals for qualification at the time – and can feel unlucky to have not won both games.
Victory in an overtime thriller against Portugal was followed a few days later by a narrow defeat to Greece in Rhodes, which GB were well within reach of winning for much of the game, and Coach Buceta reflected on the previous window as well as the many positives he, the wider staff and the players, will be looking to build upon in these games.
“Greece and Portugal spent a lot of time during the summer practicing and playing preparation games for November’s games, and we were able to compete very well with them with less than a week’s practice after a year since we last played a game, so considering that, I think our performances against them were good.
“Of course, we know we have many things to improve, but in these circumstances, I was very pleased. Winning on the road against Portugal was very important for our chances to qualify, and we were very close to beating Greece as well, so there were lots of positives to take.
“I want to thank all the players for their generous commitment coming to play in a window that was very difficult. Their country needed them and they put the team in front of everything else, which is the spirit that helped us succeed in the past and the one we need to succeed again next month.”
Tickets are available both games at a special ‘early bird’ rate here and selling fast as fans prepare to help power GB to victory in these final two games of the campaign and book a place at EuroBasket 2023 later this summer.