Serbian Head Coach’s interview for the official site of the Serbian Basketball Federation.

Serbian public had many reasons to be proud of its sportsmen in 2015. We were provided with the happiest moments by our women basketball players who, led by Marina Maljkovic , Head Coach, won gold medal on the European Championship in Hungary and Romania.

This 2015, that has just ended, was the most successful year in the history of Women’s Basketball in Serbia and Miss Maljkovic tells us about the moments she will remember.

– I will remember 2015 as the most successful year and for four moments . The first is our best game on the championship and victory in the game against Turkey. Second moment is when we climbed the pedestal in the medal ceremony, while gold confetti were covering us –that was like a magic. The third moment is the moment we entered Serbia, our drive in the open bus through my town, Belgrade. And that magical welcome in front of the Belgrade Assembly, the dream we have begun to dream has come true- Serbia that came to greet the European Champions in the Women’s Basketball. And the fourth moment is the sport hall Pionir crowded with our funs , on November 21st , St. Archangel’s day, the day was the confirmation and the proof that all we have done was worth- said Miss. Maljkovic
Creation of the Champion team was long-lasting process and the Head Coach mentioned the decisions that have been crucial in the previous five years and led to gold medal.

– The first decision was actually decision made by Dragan Djilas. We know his conviction, that is completely logical, that if Serbia is the land of basketball in Men’s basketball than this can be achieved , at less cost, by women, too. So, his decision to appoint me as a woman for a Head coach, even though very young , was very brave one. Then, in the terms of organization, foundation of the Sector for Women’s basketball and appointment of Ana Jokovic, vice-president for Women’s basketball. And for the first time, as this was not the case in the past, the Federation has serious organizational structure regarding women’s basketball. Next decision referred to sport itself. Evaluation of all Serbian women in basketball , without any vanity, without a second thoughts, but only the best for Serbia. In these four years many girls have been invited into national team, that is almost all girls who play basketball. Also, some new girls have been brought from the very beginning , since 2011 . who have not been in the national team for many years. Then one team – Partizan, the team that was the base and that gathered more than half of the girls engaged in national team all these years, the spine of this team. Again, this is a moment to mention all those girls who contributed to our result , who were on the wider lists all these years and all of them assisted us to win this gold . And of course , the last two decisions that are mentioned Sonja Petrovic and Danielle Page. – explained Ms Maljkovic .

Ms Maljkovic is known as a great motivator , but head coach explained what is motivates our women basketball players to “die” on the court.
– I would again emphasize team, fanatic game and combativeness . The fact is that all these girls are always ready to subject themselves to team and system. The players are those who should give more details on this topic, but I can say that work , their blind trust in friends and coach , as well as their faith in victory are important. – is the opinion of Ms Maljkovic.

Head Coach of Serbian Women’s National Basketball team explained what is necessary to do so that gold medal becomes a habit , not short-lasting flesh.

– I am not an expert for horoscope, but results comes with two things: continuity in work and money. And we always can do more, better . Let it be golden rule – said Ms Maljkovic.
Ms Maljkovic has recently initiated “ Movement for Women’s Basketball” and she has opened free basketball school for girls. Head Coach has explained her expectations.

– I have realistic expectations, which means great ones. As if they were not like that , I would not begin this. I really do not have spare time to deal with issues in which I do not believe. So one can clearly imply my intentions when we talk about “Movement for Women’s Basketball” and what my goals are- said Ms Maljkovic.
In 2016 the most important competition is the Olympic games, that will be the hardest in history., Serbia goes to the Games as the European Championship which imposes certain pressure , but according to Ms Maljkovic her team is used to that.

– This is not new for us, when were we spared from pressure? The pressure is present every year, and this is not different. Concerning preparations , we as the only team from Europe have certain problems in preparation planning , because we do not have other teams to play with . Qualification tournament is to be played and the results from it are expected in June. We are doing our best to organize certain friendly games and to take this task seriously as we have done in previous years. We have to wait for dates in WNBA, even though we are greatly in this, I think that it is too early for particular issues. Basketball players and me are group of people used to work under pressure and this pressure motivates us and pushes us forward – explained Head coach.
In 2016 our women basketball players will play games in Banja Luka and Nis. Ms Maljkovic says that Basketball Federation worked on this issue from the beginning in order to popularize Women’s basketball in all parts .

– It was like that from the first day, there is a plan to visit all Serbia, to play all over Serbia, to make towns for Women’s basketball. We did that in Novi Sad and Smederevska Palanka. We organized and held various lectures, seminars with coaches and children around Serbia, in Pirot, Nis , and it is not new for us. I think that in these four years every action and activity that could be done, has been done. Ana Jokovic travelled around Serbia , so we know all those people ,they are our friends, and we are looking forward to play our games in their towns. I would like to mention particularly Banja Luka , as the love between Banja Luka and Republika Srpska , and women’s national basketball team has been present since 2013 and European Championship in France, when we won the fourth place. It was then that we felt enormous love shown by people from Republika Srpska and my wish to play one game there with national team came true, so we can thank them. – concluded Ms Maljkovic