“The Serbian Job”

2016-02-12T14:03:39+00:00 2016-02-12T15:06:40+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

12/Feb/16 14:03


One Euroleague game, two coaches, many connections between them.

By Eurohoops team/ info@eurohoops.net

Panathinaikos and Anadolu Efes play against each other tonight for the 7th Round of  the Euroleague Top 16. This is a special showdown between the two teams, especially when it comes to their coaches.

Sasa Djordjevic, for the hosts, and Dusan Ivkovic for the guests are something more than familiar with each other.  When Sale was still wearing the player’s jersey during the 90s, Duda was his head coach in the national team that won the Gold Medal in the Eurobasket 1991 in Rome, and the one team that finished again at the top of the podium in the Eurobasket of Athens, in 1995.

They have also been together in the national team with Dusan Ivkovic as an assistant coach, in the 1996 Olympic Games of Atlanta (winning the silver medal), the Eurobasket of 1997 in Spain (gold medal) and the World Championship of 1998 in Athens, Greece again, where “Serbia and Montenegro” became the best team in the world.

Who was the head coach of the national team, and Sasa Djordjevic, in the tournaments of 1996, 1997 and 1998? No other than Zeljiko Obradovic who had coached Panathinaikos in the golden age of 1999-2012.

And of course, now we arrive in the recent history of Serbia. The “Orlovi” were led by Dusan Ivkovic in international tournaments from 2009 to 2013.  Sasa Djordjevic took over from December 2013 and is still at the helm of the national team. They have both led their country to silver medals in the last two World Championships, Turkey in 2010 and Spain in 2014.

But Ivkovic and Djordjevic were not always in the same team, working towards a common goal. In the Final Four of 1997, Olympiacos faced Barcelona in the Final, winning the club’s first European Championship in history, by defeating the Catalans 83 – 58. “Duda” was coach of the Reds while Sale was a superstar player for Barca.

So these icons of Serbian basketball have a special connection between them, and its aura definitely surrounds the Euroleague Top 16 game of Panathinaikos – Anadolu Efes tonight.