BUENOS AIRES (FIBA U19 World Championship for Women) - Argentina head coach Hernan Amaya has expressed his satisfaction with the early progress of his national team's extensive preparations ahead of this summer's FIBA U19 World Championship for Women in Lithuania.
Aiming to recapture the level of performance which placed Argentina on the tournament podium with a bronze medal in Thailand four years ago, the play-caller held another get-together recently with the players who are pushing for a place on the final roster.
"The balance is very positive and the team is progressing according to expectations," confirmed Amaya.
"We had two scrimmages (against Lanús and Florida Union) and both drew conclusions which were more than positive.
"With respect to individual performances, this was the case even though we could not have two important players for the team."
Those absent from the practice games were influential guard Micaela Sancisi who is in the States studying at the American University in Washington DC, along with Sofia Aispura, who sat out due to an ankle injury.
Coach Amaya also spoke about the improved linkage between the youth teams and the senior national team. Both himself and new senior play-caller Cristian Santander are working to achieve a fluid and flexible approach to selection, by calling upon a wider pool of players from different categories, whenever they hold their respective training camps.
Amaya also made a particular point of praising the co-operation he has received from everyone involved with women's basketball in Argentina, something which he believes is making a big difference.
"It is worth mentioning that we are receiving a lot of support from the institutions and leaders, including the Federation (CABB) associations and clubs," he said.
"We are working very comfortably because of this and I think it's good to mention it, because it is the real situation.
"Both Union Florida, and Social Lanús have also given us the use of their weekly training facilities and this is already in place."
Their challenge in Lithuania is likely to be spearheaded by 1996-born forward Victoria Llorente, one of the most exciting prospects in South America, along with Julieta Armesto and Sancisi who should have benefited from her experience in the NCAA.
Argentina will compete in Group B, against Australia, Japan and Spain and there are some additional incentives for the players to shine when they step out in July.
That's because if they do have a fruitful tournament, they could force their way into the reckoning for the subsequent FIBA Americas Championship for Women in September, a potential gateway for an even more alluring prospect - namely the FIBA World Championship for Women in Turkey next year.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images