The Estonian men's national basketball team has gathered in preparation to travel to Perm, Russia, for a round of qualifier matches for the EuroBasket 2022 tournament on February 19-22.
The Estonian national team roster currently consists of: Kullamäe, Sten-Timmu Sokk, Rait-Riivo Laane, Märt Rosenthal, Egert Haller, Martin Dorbek, Robert Valge, Janari Jõesaar, Jaan Puidet, Henri Drell, Kregor Hermet, Kaspar Treier, Rauno Nurger, Maik-Kalev Kotsar and Mihkel Kirves.
For Haller, this is first national squad call-up, as experienced guard Rain Veideman is out of the qualifiers after enduring a back injury recently. Experienced ballers Siim-Sander Vene and Kristjan Kitsing will also miss the upcoming matches, as will Baskonia player Sander Raieste.
"It is certainly a pity that Siim-Sander Vene, Kristjan Kitsing and now Rain Veideman will miss the games. Our most experienced players are not here. I am glad that we have Sten-Timmu Sokk, who is also an experienced player and will help us," said team head coach Jukka Toijala.
The head coach said the young team still has good leaders: "We have Henri Drell and Maik-Kalev Kotsar, who have played very well recently. I believe their form is good, but it is a team game and that is why we could use more players who play well, as that is how we will get a good result."
"The men are in good condition. Everyone came here on Monday evening, we had one practice and now another," Toijala told ERR on Tuesday noon. "We discussed with the boys that considering the situation, it is better to take it one game and one day at a time and then look forward. We will certainly go for the win in each game and will play as well as we can."
The national team flew to Perm on Tuesday afternoon after holding two practices at Kalev Sports Hall in Tallinn.
As the national team missed out on a game against North Macedonia during the "bubble" environment in Tallinn in November, the Estonians are looking at three games - Italy (February 19), Russia (February 21) and then North Macedonia on February 22.
"We have a young team and I believe it will not be that big of a problem for us. If we look at how Drell played in three games last week and Kotsar as well, they will certainly handle three games," Toijala said.
Estonia is currently third in the C group with one win and two losses. Italy is currently first (6 points) with three wins, followed by Russia (6 points) with two wins and two losses. The round of qualifiers in Perm will conclude the group stage and Estonia's match-up with North Macedonia will likely decide the group, as the top three teams advance to the main tournament of the European championship.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste