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Basketball - 10. August 2007.

BRA - Brazil coach mixes youth and experience



Seven of the 12 players who won a silver medal at the Pan American Games have been included in the preliminary squad for the tournament, which will be held in Valdivia, Chile next month.

But there are also 12 new names on the roster, including 32-year-old guard Claudinha, who is delighted to have been given the chance to impress the new coach.

"I'm very anxious. The FIBA Americas Championship has only one direct berth to the Olympics and we'll work very hard to reach the final of the tournament," she said.

"We are all focused on clinching a place in Beijing."

The FIBA Americas champions will qualify directly for next summer's Olympics, while the teams placed second, third and fourth will enter a qualifying tournament with other nations.

Coach Bassul, who succeeded Antonio Carlos Barbosa at the helm, is hoping the squad will provide the right balance of youth and experience.

"We have named some quite-experienced women and included some who were U21 World Championships' runners-up in Croatia in 2003, who are more mature," he explained.

"There are some others who don't have too much experience abroad, but they have great potential to fight for Brazil in this kind of tournament."

The players will begin training next Tuesday and will continue their preparations until September 21.

"In the opening two weeks we'll give priority to muscle strengthening and tactical work to help players get used to the systems we'll use in the tournament," Bassul added.

"From the third week onwards, we'll make our technical work more intensive."

Brazil squad: Flavia Luiza dos Santos, Karla Cristina Costa, Isis Nascimento (all Catanduva), Erika Cristina de Souza (Connecticut Sun), Jucimara Dantas "Mama" (New Wash/Carpenedolo), Kelly da Silva Santos (Aix Provence), Graziane de Jesus Coelho (Pecs), Franciele Nascimento (Divino/COC/Jundiai), Soeli Garvao Zakrzeski "Ega", Tatiana Castro Conceicao, Fernanda Beling (all Americana), Izabela Morais de Andrade, Micaela Jacintho, Patricia de Oliveira Ferreira "Chuca", Karen Gustavo (all Ourinhos), Iziane Castro (Seattle Storm), Tayara Pesenti, Fabianna Manfredi (both Sao Bernardo/Metodista), Claudia Maria das Neves "Claudinha" (Clermont Ferrand).

Matias Greco
FIBA

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