Estonia will play Macedonia in a bear's den, says coach Juka Tojala

EPA-EFE/WOJTEK JARGILO

The Estonian coach provocatively announced the meeting with Macedonia from the first round of the EuroBasket 2025 Qualifiers. He compared the SRC "Kale" hall in Skopje, where the match will be played on Friday, to a bear's den, saying that it is difficult to play there.

The head coach of the Estonian national basketball team, Jukka Tojala, compared the SRC "Kale" gym, where his team will play Macedonia on Friday, to a bear's den.

Tojala made a statement at the beginning of Estonia's preparations for the start of the qualifiers for the European Championship 2025. The first match between Macedonia and Estonia is played on Friday in SRC "Calais" and for both opponents it is extremely important because it can easily happen that the result is key to which of these two teams will go to Euro 2025. Here is part of Toyala's statement about that match:

– We have to be more intense and energetic than our opponent. I think we have a formation in which we have enough strength to win, but we have to prove it on the field. It is always difficult to play away from home, especially in such a bear's den in which they play - says Toyala about the upcoming match with Macedonia.

And the qualifications for the previous European Championship for these two selections started in Skopje four years ago ("Boris Trajkovski"). Then Estonia won with 81-72, a result that proved to be fatal for us later in the qualifiers in our attempt to qualify for the EuroBasket. But it was lucky for the Estonians and they want history to repeat itself on Friday.

- Four years ago, everything started in the same way... We have a feeling of "déjà vu". A new and interesting qualifying cycle should start and we will achieve the same result... - says the Finnish expert Toyala.

According to him, the goal of the Estonian team is to make history, that is, to place twice in a row at the European Championships, which this country has not achieved so far since gaining independence.

Macedonia and Estonia start the qualifiers on Friday in SRC "Calais" (19 p.m.), and the matches in the qualifying Group X start on Thursday with the match between Lithuania and Poland. In the February "window" we will also play against Poland away on Monday.

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