AIM FOR SECOND BEST, SAYS AUSTRALIAN OPALS COACH

From The Fiji Sun, 16th March, 2008 by Moiz Munif:


The FIBA Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament for Women will be held on June 9-15 in the Telefonica Arena, Madrid, Spain. Fiji is pooled with Brazil and Spain.

Stirling and her side will also be gunning to win their first gold medal at the Beijing Games.

"At the end of the day Fiji is probably never going to match an Opals team but they could take New Zealand. Reality is to aim for at least second best in your zone because Australia is always going to be that little step ahead,"Stirling said.
"Fiji does not have the same resources like in Australia. That's what they should be aiming for and I think that they have got some good steps in place to achieve that down the track," Stirling said.
She says that she was pleased to assist Fiji Basketball and aims to execute her plan within the given time.
"Michael Whippy invited me here and I'm very honored to be here. I know that Fiji Basketball and FIBA Oceania have helped to get this together so it's wonderful to be here with the girls; they are a terrific group.
"With the girls I will be working on the passing, ball handling skills recognizing how they can play aggressive defense even though they going to be smaller we will be working on the whole package. Plan is to give them some confidence that they have got two arms and two legs like everyone else.
"The opponents will make mistakes and they have to be ready to capitalize," she said.
With the Wellington Swish Team confirming their tour to Fiji on April 6-13, Stirling believes that this is good opportunity to test the girls but says more has to be done.
"The games against the visiting teams will help but the girls have to go away from their normal practices and perhaps put some time in their own session. They have to learn to work on the basics and try to be very competitive," Stirling said.
After completing a session with the national squad yesterday, the Australian who works in the Recreation and Sports department back home believes that the hard yards should be covered before crunch time.
"Skill level needs to be improved obviously if they are going to play some significant teams at the qualification. They are playing countries that have had basketball in their countries for more than100 years. So their skill level will improve with time as long as they are dedicated," she added.


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