Vladimer Boisa, Irakli Khoshtaria, Mamuka Abramidze, Vako Bezhanishvili and Vasil Otiuridze… We will tell you about these players in today’s project of Basketball Federation “The Road of Georgian Basketball to Eurobasket 2021”.
13 years in national team jersey.
On February 25, 1998 Vladimer Stephania played for the last time in the Georgian national team. He suffered a knee injury in Latvia and did not appear on the court in the second half.
An interesting coincidence: Vova’s leaving coincided with Vova’s arrival – it was Latvia, where Vladimer Boisa made his debut.
– I remember the story of being called up for the Georgian national team, – recalls Boisa, – I was one of the leading players of Azoti Rustavi. I knew the members of the national team as well. However, I was a little nervous. I remember the meeting in the Czech Republic the best in that cycle. I first flew to Prague from Ljubljana, from where I took a taxi to Opava. I really didn’t think traveling by car would take a long time. I was tired… National team members were already waiting for me as a legionnaire – I had signed a new contract with Slovan earlier before.
Vova Boisa moved to Euroleague Olympia from Slovan…
– Vlado arrived in Ljubljana and became captain of Olympia, – remembers Slovenian Marco Milic (who then played in NBA), “It is very difficult for a foreigner to become captain in Slovenia. This requires a lot of hard work. Many basketball players arrive here and just look at the statistics. Boisa was for the team and that is why he gained popularity. He is a good bridge between Slovenia and Georgia.
Of course, Georgian fans love him too. He deserved it with a heartfull game.
– Each and every year in the national team was memorable. National team members played in clubs throughout the season and we couldn’t meet each other, and the national team allowed us guys to come together and defend the dignity our country. I’ll tell you sincerely, I always missed my friends. Our joint work was appreciated by getting to the European Championship in 2011. It was an unbelievable happiness to get to the Eurobasket first, then to leave the group,” adds Vova Boisa.
The Georgian national team played a home game against Belarus at the end of the Eurobasket 1997 qualifier.
Davit Tortladze recalls the last seconds of the match against Belarus:
– We had the right to carry out the last attack. The ball had to be played and shot at the last second not to give the opponent a chance to retaliate. The siren came close so that no free partner appeared. I went under the basket and threw the ball to it, but it rolled over and Vako Bezhanishvili, who was near, put it back in the basket – 80:78. Tense match ended elegantly with such an interesting final.
However, our opponent needed winning like the air. Belarusians also reminded Vako Bezhanishvili of this in Russia:
– For the longest time the coaches and players of Belarus have remembered the Tbilisi match. When I was playing in Russia, a Belarusian coach came up and asked me what motivation we had to kill their chance to leave the group. But for us, playing for the national team was already a great motivation. Especially when we were playing in front of our fans.
Irakli Khoshtaria has played 22 matches in Georgian national team. However, despite being in good shape, they have not call him to the national team since 2001.
His most unpleasant thing to remember was the meeting with Latvia – Khoshtaria broke a hand in the second period:
– For some reason, the call to the national team coincided with injuries. I had a leg injury before the match with Sweden. I only played 14 minutes with Latvia – in one episode I jumped for the ball, fell awkwardly on the court and broke my hand… I have missed a lot since then. Interestingly, when I gained experience and was doing a great job at the club, they were no longer calling me up in the national team.
After finishing his career, Irakli started coaching and created a successful career. Dinamo became the champion of Georgia three times in his hands and Irakli became the best coach of the season three times. Currently he trains a representative of the Super League – Vera.
Mamuka Abramidze, like Irakli Khoshtaria, had to play in a very difficult period. All the matches were heavy, as you know, so it was difficult for them to train.
Here’s what Levan Moseshvili, coach of the Georgian national team in 1998-99, recalls:
– Before the match against the Czech Republic I gathered team at the base of Dinamo. However, we can only call it gathering conventionally. There were regular exercises. I got in touch with the guys and called them to base. I reached out to some people later. For example, Mamuka Abramidze was in Batumi and did not know if he was called to the national team. There were no conditions to prepare the team.
Of course, Mamuka immediately arrived in Tbilisi and joined the team. He was an important part of the team. Judge for yourself: Abramidze has played 9 games for the national team, averaging 26.9 minutes each. He was collecting 6 points and 1.8 assists.
Vasil Otiuridze has played only three matches in the national team. However, all three were very significant and most importantly memorable. Memorable not only because Vaska played against Turkey, Latvia and Italy, but also because he had plenty of minutes and a very good result.
In 1998 he spent 28 minutes on the court with the Turks in Bursa, scored 4 of 7 two-pointers and finished the match with 11 points. Then there was an 11-minute match against Latvia, with a two-pointer and a three-pointer, both of which hit. He added 2 of 2 free throws and scored 7 points.
He had his last match against Italy – played 32 minutes against Squadra Adzura and went up to 10 points (5 of 6 two-pointers). He would have had more playing time, if he hadn’t left the court due to 5 fouls.
Announcement: Next Thursday, December 26th, we will tell you about Zurab Tomaradze, Gigi Natsvlishvili, Irakli Maisuradze, Giorgi Gagnidze and Valeri Kiladze.