BANGALORE, India (21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women): For the third successive year, Shiba Maggon – one of India’s youngest coaches – is out on a mission. And for the third successive instance her efforts will be guided by a different senior coach.
At the 20th FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women at Surat Thani (Thailand) in 2010 when she made her debut as a coach, Maggon had her coach of playing days Abdul Hamid Khan ‘Babu’ helping her and a year later at the 2nd FIBA Asia U16 Championship for Women at Jinan (China), it was Vinod Vachani. And now as the team prepares for the 21st FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women to be played in Johor Bahru (Malaysia) it will be Harjinder Singh Simak.
“The greatest thing about all the senior coaches is that they have allowed me to work with a lot of freedom,” Maggon told this website as the girls went about their drills at the sprawling Sports Authority of India on the outskirts of Bangalore.
“I can’t say we achieved what we set out for on the last two occasions,” the 35-year-old said of her past two sojourns with the Indian junior teams.
“Two years ago at Surat Thani our aim was to qualify for Level I, which we couldn’t. And last year at Jinan we aimed at a place in the semifinals and almost made it,” she explained.
“Therefore I’ll have to take it as not achieved, but I would like to add that we have made tremendous progress in terms of our plays,” she added.
At Jinan, Maggon and her girls came very close to achieving their target when they played a very close first half against Chinese Taipei in a pivotal game in the Level I round robin before the East Asian team turned the screws.
“I think such games give us the confidence that we can actually challenge the top teams. But also they showed what we lack or where we lag behind in moving up to the next level,” Maggon said.
“We are working exactly on those points in our training,” she added about the current training.
“All these girls have had some kind of international experience or the other. Therefore we can’t say they are inexperienced,” Maggon said.
Three of the current squad – Rajapriyadharshini Rajaganapathi, Sneha Rajguru and Sangeetha Mandal – were also a part of the team that faltered in the Level I Qualifying Game at 20th FIBA Asia U18 Championship for Women at Surat Thani (Thailand) in 2010 and Maggon hoped the girls had learnt from the mistakes from that game against Malaysia.
“In fact all our training so far has emphasized on reducing our past mistakes. That is the path to learning we have chosen. I do think that is the only way we can focus on improving as well as getting the results we need,” Maggon said.
S Mageshwaran / FIBA Asia