After two dominant displays in November for Chema Buceta’s side, Temi Fagbenle is back once again for Great Britain ahead of two huge home games in Manchester as the team bids to qualify for Women’s EuroBasket 2023.
With Estonia and Portugal awaiting GB as they get set for a double-header in the North West at the National Basketball Performance Centre, Fagbenle is itching to get to work as the team look to book their place in this summer’s final tournament in Slovenia and Israel.
“I’m focused and ready to go, but especially looking forward to having the opportunity to compete on home soil,” Fagbenle said.
“We can take a lot from both games we had on the road in November, winning one and falling just short in the other – we could have won in Greece, but the cards didn’t fall our way.
“We have a good opportunity to build on those strengths we have this week and refine some of things we need to work on after November. We don’t have much time to prepare, but know what we’re capable of and we know what’s on the line so we’ll be putting our best foot forward.
“Being able to play at home is really special, particularly if friends and family can join us and we can feed off that energy in the building. I just hope that we can pull off these two wins in wonderful fashion.”
‘I’m really excited to be on the floor with the new talent we have”
Helping usher in a new generation of talent with the team welcoming a host of new exciting young players in recent years, Fagbenle discussed the potential of the group and how much she enjoys the opportunity to help nurture and mentor GB’s emerging talents.
“There’s a lot of potential with the younger girls coming through, for sure, so it is exciting to see their talent and how well they do at their respective clubs. All you can do is hope it comes together in a cohesive way when we get together for GB, and we do see those flashes of brilliance.
“With more support and funding and time to come together as a group and finesse our craft as a group, I do really think we have the potential to be one of the best teams in the world. With the talent we have coming through, we have to find a way to preserve this and bring the best out of it.
“I’m really excited to be on the floor with this new talent we have, it is a breath of fresh air to see new energy coming in, but it is important they understand where we’ve come from as well and what we want to achieve with GB. It is an honour to be here, this can’t be taken for granted, and we have big ambitions for the future.”
‘We’ve got to give everything we have.’
Two wins – and victory against Portugal by as many points as possible – are required if Chema Buceta’s side are to qualify for EuroBasket 2023 later this year, and Fagbenle detailed how the Head Coach’s unique qualities will be vital to the team’s success in the coming games.
“Chema is a good person, a good friend, and his skills as a coach and particularly on the mental side of the game are incredibly important – a key reason for our success in the past, too, making us have confidence in ourselves and have fun when we’re on the court to bring the best out of us.
“We have the experience as a group with the veterans we have, so what Chema adds to that is really valuable, and with the younger players coming through the confidence they bring is complimented by Chema’s approach and what we as veterans add to the team with our experience.
“We’ve got to give everything we have every single time we’re on the floor together, because we don’t know how much time we’ll have together moving forward. We’ve shown in 2019 what we can do, but that was just the beginning and we need to build to be one of the best.”
Get your tickets
Get your tickets to support Great Britain in EuroBasket 2023 Qualifying action in Manchester as they take on Estonia and Portugal in two decisive fixtures by clicking here. The team needs your support and we can’t wait to see you in the stands supporting the group next week!