Bonnici selects squad for FIBA Women’s European

Championship for Small Countries in Kosovo. Malta to play against hosts, Georgia and Cyprus in Group A

The women’s national basketball team, led by newly-appointed coach Charles Bonnici, will be competing in the FIBA Women’s European Championship for Small Countries, this year being held in Kosovo.

Malta open their Group A campaign against hosts Kosovo this coming Tuesday (25 June) at 20.30 in Pristina. Their second match is against Georgia on Wednesday (15.30) followed by their final group match against Cyprus on Thursday (18.00). The semi-finals and classification matches are scheduled to take place on Saturday and Sunday (29-30 June).

Bonnici will be taking charge of his first official matches since being appointed coach of the women’s national basketball team in January. Training started last month with small groups of players who were not involved in the domestic play-offs before being stepped up over the past four weeks.

“The players are very dedicated, they give their all in training and I can’t ask for more,” Bonnici said. “The preparations are on track. We have worked on the tactical, technical and physical aspects, and the players’ commitment has been flawless.”

Bonnici has named his final 12-strong squad for this challenging tournament where Malta will be facing strong teams, starting with their opening game against the hosts on Tuesday.

“Our first game is against Kosovo, the hosts. Georgia are also strong while we know the level of Cyprus from last year’s GSSE. Gathering information about our opponents is also a challenge but we are doing our utmost to prepare for this tournament in the best way possible.

“We know it’s going to be tough but we have to aim as high as possible… we hope to achieve a top-four finish. The first game is very important for us since it’s the top fixture against the home team on the opening day of the tournament. If we manage to win this game, it would enhance our morale as well as our chances of a top-four placing.”

SQUAD                                                                                   

Sophie Abela, Claire Ciantar, Kristy Galea (all Depiro); Mikela Riolo, Maria Bonett, Stephanie De Martino, Michela Zammit Cordina (Starlites); Ylenia Bonett (DBB LZ, Austria); Marie Buhagiar (Hibernians); Josephine Diaby (Luxol); Danika Galea (Elite Roma, Italy); Amber Constance Melgoza (AE Sedis Basquet, Spain).

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