By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Things can get complicated with international fixtures in the winter schedule.
Serbia and head coach Svetislav Pesic will get help from Belgrade giants Crvena Zvezda mts and Partizan Mozzart Bet but barring a last-minute change that will not be the case with CSKA players Nikola Milutinov and Dejan Davidovac.
“We will talk more with CSKA Monday. Then we will know for sure. But the situation is complicated and it is extremely unlikely we will be able to count on them, despite CSKA’s willingness to help us,” Pesic revealed to Mozzart Sport.
The Moscow outfit along with the remaining Russian clubs has been excluded from European club continental competitions, including the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, due to the war in Ukraine. However, the teams continue to compete in the VTB United League. In this case, the scheduling conflict includes CSKA playing host to UNICS Thursday, 10 November. Serbia is set to face Great Britain in Newcastle the next day and three days later host Turkey in Belgrade on the same day CSKA takes on Pari Nizhny Novgorod.
Crvena Zvezda and Partizan have both committed to making their domestic stars available to play for Serbia in the approaching international window. Pesic confirmed he will get Danilo Andjusic, Ognjen Dobric, Balsa Koprivica, Nemanja Nedovic, Nikola Topic, Uros Trifunovic, and possibly Aleksa Avramovic and Luka Mitrovic depending on their health status. Those players will miss EuroLeague Regular Season Round 7. Specifically, the team coached by Zeljko Obradovic will visit Olympiacos on November 10, and Red Star meeting Fenerbahce Beko in Istanbul on November 11.
Beyond rescheduling the game between Italian clubs, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan and Virtus Segafredo Bologna, the rest of the EuroLeague schedule did not change. So, the Serbian players elsewhere in the top-tier club continental competition will not make it to the next batch of games for the 2023 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers. Nikola Kalinic, Marko Guduric, Vasilije Micic, Vladimir Lucic, and Ognjen Jaramaz were all ruled out by Pesic.
Meanwhile, BSL Regular Season Round 6 games initially planned to be held on November 6 were postponed due the scheduling conflicts.
“We tried this in previous windows, to postpone games of the ABA League before the international fixtures. Not only for us, but also for Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Montenegro, every national team part of the Qualifiers,” mentioned the experienced tactician in the interview, “ABA rejected the proposal. There was no point in submitting a new request at this point.”
At 3-3, Serbia is currently tied with Belgium in third place in Group I, the lowest point to a berth in the World Cup. The next games and those part of FIBA’s window in February will determine whether the team coached by Pesic can make it through the Qualifiers.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL