The President of the Cyprus Basketball Federation, Andreas Mouzouridis, spoke on the Greek website sdna.gr and made reference to our country’s plan for Eurobasket 2025.
– Mr. Mouzouridis, we read that in the past few days a FIBA team traveled to Cyprus, to check the facilities in view of the possible assignment of a group of Eurobasket 2025. What feedback did you receive from the world federation?
“Last week the FIBA technical staff came to Cyprus. The feedback we received is that our infrastructure is at a high level, in terms of the possible hosting of European basketball stars in Limassol. They saw the stadium that can host the games. Of course, there are some small technical issues, which are known in the world federation and we know them too. They also believe that by September we will have improved them. In general, it was a positive visit, which strengthens our hopes and motivations to achieve this difficult task. For some here on the Island, as well as for the rest of Europe, when we started designing it was like a dream. “We hope this dream will come true in March.”
– Cyprus and specifically Nicosia in the summer of 2020 had taken over a group of Basketball Champions League qualifiers. Do you think that the … water has entered the ditch in your relations with FIBA and the smooth conduct of this phase can play a role in the final decision for Eurobasket?
“In the summer of 2020 we became active for this project and … we left our holidays in the background. We undertook to carry out a FIBA plan, the first bubble event. It was a great honor for us to take it on, but also a huge responsibility to handle it. There have been two positives from this event. One was the congratulations of all FIBA executives. The program we followed was a case study and was used in the Final Eight of the Basketball Champions League in Athens, organized by AEK. The second positive for us was the qualification of Keravnos Strovolos, as for the first time a team from Cyprus qualified for the BCL groups. This qualification was to the detriment of Hercules, but we wanted one of the two teams to pass. “As you can see, we were doubly happy.”
– Which group will Cyprus try to claim, if it hosts a group of the European Championship? Are there any thoughts about the group of National Greece?
“The four groups will emerge through a draw. It goes without saying that if first we succeed and take the group and if Greece qualifies in the final phase, this will clearly be the first move we will make. We will ask Greece to play in Cyprus, that is a given.
In fact, in November I had a constructive meeting with the president of the Greek federation, Mr. Vangelis Liolios. We discussed many issues and one of them was this event, as well as how to get to this difficult mission. It was a meeting that took the relations between the EEC and the KOK to a new era, to new levels, with an exchange of know-how and a deepening of the relations between the two federations. There is already a committee with two people from the KOK and two from the EEC. Our general managers are in charge. “Every week they hold online meetings and exchange views.”
– What moves do you intend to make and which people will star in your campaign in the near future?
“Our effort has started in the last eight – ten months. It is not a one month effort. You see, it took a lot of preparation and preparation, initially to submit a complete and completed dossier. This would not have happened without the help of the Cypriot government and I would like to thank the Minister of Finance, as well as the Cyprus Sports Organization for this step.
We want to set up a campaign with basketball legends. The ambassador of this candidacy is the legend of European basketball and friend of the Cypriot basketball, Dimitris Diamantidis. He was with us in October when the nomination was presented. In addition, he will be with us in Munich when the official presentation takes place. At the same time, Dora Panteli will be in the team that is preparing the final presentation. Together with our team in Cyprus they are preparing the final form of the project and the video. She will take over the part of presenting the candidacy in front of the board of FIBA Europe “.
– Have you dreamed of official matches of the National Greece in Cyprus, for the final phase of a big event, with the Antetokunbo brothers on the floor?
“We had the good fortune and the joy to host the National Team of Greece in Cyprus again in preparation matches for other Eurobasket. But preparation matches are something different. Let me just mention that when Giannis Antitokoumbo came to Cyprus with the Milwaukee Bucks for the summer holidays, he chose to stay in the hotel where the athletes will stay, provided we take the group. Of course, there was a panic on the island and only with his visit. Imagine what will happen if God helps and we undertake this event and at the same time the National Team of Greece qualifies “.
– In order to get a little more into your own day, what are the aspirations of the National Cyprus for the coming years?
“We are in a phase of reorganization, that is a fact. Our aspirations are to improve day by day and year by year. This Eurobasket is a big challenge. If we host a group we will also take part in the final phase, as organizers. We have two or three stars who play in the Greek championship, such as Zeyd Moussa of Olympiacos and Andreas Christodoulou of PAOK. We are also counting on Aeneas Jung, who is competing in Germany. With the addition of these children, some of ours and some naturalized ones, we hope for the best possible result, to the extent possible “.
– And a … basketball question. Is there any talent in Cypriot basketball that you stand out and do you think will make us deal with it more in the coming years?
“There are several young players we are already interested in and they will make you more interested in Cypriot basketball. Let us not forget that Sasha Vezenkov started from Cyprus, while the same happened with Musa, who started his career in Cypriot academies. There are still two or three talents, but I will not say their names, to direct the interest here, come and see them. “Unfortunately, of course, the market in Cyprus is small and the children are leaving for abroad.”