The road of Georgian Basketball to Eurobasket - Part XVIII
We continue our project “The road to Eurobasket2021” which is initiated by the Basketball Federation. Today we introduce Manuchar Markoishvili, Anatoli Boisa, Beqa Tsivtsivadze, Luka Zaqradze and Beqa Beqauri.
National team is not a job, it is for our souls!
On July 22, 2004, Georgian national team played against Russia at the San Giorgio Tournament. The young player, who had an experience of playing in the Euroleague finals, made his debut in this match – Manuchar Markoishvili started his career in the national team with an 87:71 victory over Russia and after that has grown so much with his team-mates that he has played four Eurobaskets.
– Playing in foreign clubs is our job, the national team is not a job, we do not earn money there, it is for our souls! I am proud to defend the dignity of my country. This is important for family, friends, me, and fans. I consider the national team as a summer bonus – it’s an extra opportunity to enjoy basketball, – Manu told a web-site journalist at the Russian club, CSKA.
– I was with the national team in Lithuania at the Eurobasket in 2011, in Slovenia in 2013, in Croatia in 2015, and in Israel in 2017. I believe that conducting the Eurobasket in Georgia will be a great stimulus for our future generations as well, it will be an excellent opportunity to bring them closer to the highest level of basketball. They will be able to watch stars from around the world not on television, but from the tribune, in their home country. I could only dream about it in my childhood. But I dreamed of holding any age championship in Tbilisi and be able to go on the court with a Georgian jersey and my friend and relatives would support me from the tribunes. It’s a different feeling to play in your homeland, the whole gym is yours.
Manuchar Markoishvili will also be in the fifth Eurobasket on behalf of Georgia, but this time – as a coach. He and Anatoli Boisa have been at Ilia Zouros coaching staff since 2020.
Anatoli Boisa also played for the first time at the San Giorgio Tournament against Russia. He had just returned from America, where he had been playing in Midland College.
Anatoli, who was newly returned from the US, was called in Basko by their coach Nugzar Kandelaki and soon after, they gained a championship of Georgia together. Anatoli is among record-holders by winning Georgian championship 8 times.
Mostly due to his fighting spirit and impeccable defense, he had been in the center of attention of national team coaches since 2004. He finished his career in 2019 and started coaching himself. Anatoli Boisa heads his native Rustavi and is in the coaching staff of Ilias Zouros.
Boisa recalls an interesting, unknown story about the national team:
-in 2007, at the gathering of the Georgian national team in the city of Poe, French hosted us poorly. they didn’t even assign a driver for our minibus. I oriented in a timely manner and served as a driver during the whole gathering and eventually became a small town tour guide as well.
Beqa Tsivtsivadze had been playing in all national youth teams since U-16s, but only got called from the national team in 2014 at the Eurobasket Qualifiers. Beqa performed well in friendly matches, but eventually, didn’t make it to the top 12 of Igor Kokoshkov.
Of course, Beqa is satisfied to become a part of the national team, but says that he could do more…
– I am happy that my childhood dream has come true – I stood among the national team members under the Georgian anthem. However, certain circumstances did not allow me to fully express my talents, which I am very sad about today. I advise the younger generation, those who are thinking about the Georgian national team, work hard to achieve great goals, don’t be lazy and you will definitely get the result.
Greek specialist Ilias Zouros arrived in Georgia in 2016 and said in the very first cycle – young basketball players should get used to the national team so we can rely on them soon. The first player the coach set his eye on, was Luka Zaqradze.
The player himself speaks about the national team as follows:
– I would like to express my gratitude to Ilias Zouros. He was paternal with me. He personally trained me, supported me psychologically before each match and gave me the opportunity to show myself in the game…
Since 2016, Zaqradze gets in the extended squad, but not in top 12… he should deserve it by playing well in the Georgian championship. Luka has a wonderful chance for it, he is given a quality time in TSU and the team is successfull as well.
The Georgian national team has many unforgettable matches in history. Distinct among them were the 2016 matches between Tbilisi and Montenegro in Bar. Beqa played for four minutes in Montenegro and made his modest contribution in the 90:84 victory. It was a huge confidence by the head coach Ilias Zouros for such an inexperienced player.
Previous head coach Igor Kokoshkov used to call Beqa in the national team as well, he got in the squad inFebruary 2020 too but with a very limited playing time.
It has its logic – Beqa is a center, which is a very competitive position. Shermadini and two-time NBA champion – Zaza Pachulia were playing in duo before 2017 and after that – two-time Euroleague champion Giorgi Shermadini and a member of Indiana – Goga Bitadze…