During the two home games of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers, the guys from Belarusian national team committed something that made everyone looking at them with respect and interest. The face of each fan, who watched that games, was lit by a slight and bright smile of the hope that our men’s basketball got on the way of restoration.


We state that during the games with Spain and Slovenia, who were the bronze and gold medalists of the EuroBasket last year, our national team made a real show that shook up everyone and made to believe in the impossible. We couldn’t defeat the monsters of European basketball – Spanish national team – only because of the referees that interfered into the final part of the game and gave the victory to the favorites. But we defeated Slovenia on Monday in the spirit of the sensational film «Going Vertical», with the tears that were brought by the final buzzer. What emotional diversity this sport brings, after all! It rakes up patriotic feelings and makes us take a new look at ourselves, our country and our common opportunities.

Meanwhile, nothing heroic occurred: Aliaksandr Krutsikau’s team won only one game of four in the qualifiers. Nevertheless, it is the case when it is forbidden to give the final score into the hands of the dry statistics and numbers. It should be judged by the game process, the progress that the team reached in its actions and mood. And this progress is large. Of course, the conflict between FIBA and the Euroleague led to the situation when the most powerful national teams can’t be equipped with all the basketball stars that play for their elite clubs, but for us it doesn’t change the essence. Because of this, we lost Artsiom Parakhouski, Spanish team couldn’t bring anyone who took part in the EuroBasket to Minsk (but anyway they have such a number of high-level players that is enough for 5 teams), Slovenian team also didn’t have some of the masters. But it is impossible to say that there was a wrong Slovenian national team in Minsk. On the contrary, it had even 6 current European champions! We are not going to dispute that the presence of wunderkind Luka Dončić and phenomenal Goran Dragić on the court would change a lot, but, anyway, their absence is not our problem.

It is a great joy to see what currently happens with Belarusian basketball. Women’s team, despite on the pessimistic forecasts, continues its sprightly life, students’ basketball rose, and, of course, the men’s team that was given up on a few years ago found itself alive and kicking.

Awaking yourself and the interest to yourself is already a big deal. The Board of the Belarusian Basketball Federation managed to do this. The key decision of the BBF in relation to the men’s team was the nomination of Aliaksandr Krutsikau on the head-coach position. It was a bull’s eye! Aliaksandr is a skillful professional with a huge store of knowledge. He graduated from Belarusian State University of Physical Culture with honors in 1981 and successfully graduated from the post-graduate studies in 1986. He passed Ph.D. defense and got the degree of PhD in Pedagogy in 1993. Aliaksandr Krutsikau passed partly all his coaching career in Poland and finally returned home in the end of 2015.

We can only guess how it is difficult for him to restore the team and build it from the ground up. But, it should be noted, that its contours are pretty nice. It turned out that we have young talents. Yauheni Beliankou and Anton Vashkevich, who brilliantly proved themselves during the games against Spaniards and Slovenians, are among them. As well as, Maksim Salash, who scored 20 points in the game with Slovenia! Vitali Liutych and Aliaksandr Kudrautsau also played perfectly. Even the naturalization of American Devon Saddler was the right decision: he did so marvelous things on the court as if he had just come from the NBA. And note what an excellent results «Tsmoki» showed in this season under the auspices of Aliaksandr Krutsikau! Here is the structure, where the club works for the national team and vice versa.

So, now it is fascinating to observe not only the women’s team but the men’s as well in Belarusian basketball. It is just a pity the guys have already played all the home games of the current qualifiers. Two guest games left: on 28 June in Montenegro and on 1 July in Spain. Three best national teams from the group will enter the next qualification round.


FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers

Belarus – Slovenia – 93:92 (the most effective players of the Belarusian national team: Saddler – 25 points, Salash – 20, Kudrautsau – 18, Liutych – 13), Spain – Montenegro – 79:67. Team results: 1. Spain – 8 points; 2. Slovenia – 6; 3. Montenegro – 5; 4. Belarus – 5.

Sergey Kanashits, newspaper «Belarus Segodnya»

SECTION Federation