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EuroBasket: Bus driver sacked as defending champs Slovenia forced to take taxis for Lithuania clash

Slovenia kicked off the defence of their European title with an impressive victory over Lithuania, though their pre-match preparations were far from ideal.

Having won the European crown in 2017, the Slovenian team were intent on making a solid start to the defence of their title. 

However, as the players waited in their hotel for the arrival of a coach just hours before tip-off, they soon came to the realisation that transport wasn't coming and they would have to make their own way to the Lanxess Arena.
The players jumped into taxis and arrived at the venue 20 minutes late. Despite the disruption, the team produced a solid display as they ran out 92:85 winners to mark the defence of their title in style.
After facing widespread criticism for the bus incident, the International Basketball Federation responded, with head of PR Sakis Kontos blaming the driver.

He told the Slovenian Press Agency: "The organizing committee of the European Championship also officially apologized to the Slovenian team for the unfortunate incident with the bus before the match on September 1.

"It was a mistake by the driver, who did not follow the prescribed driving schedule. This person was immediately dismissed from his position, and an additional control added, so that the mistake would not be repeated."

Player Edo Muric told Slovenian news outlet Ekipa24: "When we had to get into a taxi, it wasn't funny anymore.

"Maybe it fired us up a bit more, we were very nervous. The players have their own rituals in preparation for the match, and that also knocked our composure a bit.
"I believe it wasn't deliberately, at least I try to believe that it is so. You have to go above and beyond, and in the end the strongest becomes the champion."

Photo Credit: fiba.basketball

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