Liolios: “Antetokounmpo wants to be in the Pre-Olympics”

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An interview on the Greek-language program of the Australian state radio was given by Vangelis Liolios ahead of his upcoming visit to Sydney from May 16, where he will have meetings with Greek expatriates. Its president EEC referred to his great challenge Pre-Olympic Tournamentexpressed his confidence in his face Vasilis Spanoulisbut also the optimism that the John Antetokounmpo will be present, which is his wish as well as that of the federation. In detail, Mr. Liolios spoke about:

-the challenge of the Pre-Olympic Tournament: “I have been in the presidency of the Federation for two and a half years and I think that until now what we are trying to do is to grow basketball within the Greek society and to be able to bring back Greek successes with the national teams. The next big date, the big bet we have, is the Olympic Games. This summer, from July 2 to 7 in Greece we will host the Pre-Olympic tournament, where one of the six teams that will participate is the Greek team. We will try to get the ticket to the Olympic Games, which I think is a very big honor if we can do it and a very big success.”

– the goal of the National team: “The hope of all of us is to do our best to get the coveted ticket (for the Olympic Games in Paris). If we look a little at what has happened in the past, indeed since 2009 we have to get a medal, to make a great distinction. Two years ago we participated in Eurobasket, which took place in Berlin. There we played in a crossover match, in a knockout match against Germany, who the following year at the World Cup were also world champions. I think even though we played a good game, the Germans played a better game than us and we were eliminated. You know, these games are decided on a shot, a basket, a rebound and you need to have luck on your side. We didn’t have it then. We went to the World Cup with several shortcomings because we had several injuries to our key players and indeed our task was by definition difficult. I want to believe that this year, having a full team with all the players and playing at home, to put it differently and having the support of the people, we will succeed in taking the next step. Everything will be decided again in some crossover game, in a game where we need a lot of things there, we need more than having the readiness to get the victory, more than the support of the whole world, we also need to have luck with us. So that we can all celebrate together, for the people to take to the streets again, to celebrate a great success that we have been waiting for for so many years. And I am sure that not only the Greeks in Greece will celebrate, but all Hellenism around the world. I am sure that Australian Hellenism will celebrate such a success that will make us all proud again.”

– the choice of Spanoulis as a federal coach: “Two years ago we had the option of Dimitris Itoudis, a federal coach, who had enormous experience, but in the end things turned out this way and we didn’t manage to have any success. At the moment it is Vassilis Spanoulis. He is a huge personality. He was not only a great player, a world-class player. He is not only an excellent coach who has started his career in Peristeri and has excellent results. It is that as a personality, he is a man who can inspire the players, who will convey to them the belief and confidence of victory and show them the way as a forward, so that the National team can have successes. Besides, let’s not forget that Vassilis Spanoulis also had huge successes as a player with the National team. Beyond Eurobasket, which had won the gold in 2005 in Belgrade. In 2006, if you remember correctly, we went all the way to silver at the Worlds, beating the Americans in Saitama, and in 2009 we again had the medal.”

-the advantage of Spanoulis: “Vassilis knows the National team, he knows what Greece means, he knows what it means to play for the National team. It is very different for someone to play with the National team and to play with his team. The national team is not someone’s team. The National team, is a team of all of us, it expresses an entire Hellenism, millions of people and its jersey is very heavy. Vassilis knows this and knows very well how to convey it to the players so that they understand the importance of the games, the importance of the moment and the passion that should distinguish them, so that we can overcome and be able to have a success”.

– the prospect of facing the USA in the Olympic Games and Giannis Antetokounmpo: “Team USA, America’s national team has an incredible team. If we look at the names, the players who play, you don’t know who to admire first. It is incredible the roster that will have and the joy and ours to participate in these Olympic Games against the American team. If we succeed and God willing we can qualify and play against them, having Giannis with us, the big star of the National team, is of course something we want. It’s something he wants too. It is something that if all things go smoothly and we are healthy, it will become a reality. The Olympics are something very special for everyone. You know that very well. The Olympic Games are unique competitions. It’s not just an event, it’s THE ORGANIZATION. It is the organization that transcends boundaries, not just ours. It is something completely unique. You can already see the importance shown by the Americans who participate with all their stars. We will see other national teams participating with all their stars. Everyone wants to be there. It goes without saying that all our players also want to be there.”

Source: Sport Fm

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