|04 September 2012|
|Aigars Nerips has been rewarded for Latvia's excellent EuroBasket Women Qualification Round campaign with a contract extension that will see him taking the team to France |
Aigars Nerips hardly put a foot wrong in leading Latvia to a 5-3 record in their successful EuroBasket Women 2013 Qualification Round campaign.
The Latvians have decided to award him a contract extension, thus keeping him in charge when the Final Round is held next year in France.
It's an early birthday present for Nerips, who turns 45 on Friday.
He has wasted no time in expressing the hope that at least two former stars will be with the team in France.
"I hope that we'll see the return to the team of Anete Jekabsone-Zogota, and Elina Babkina, who did not play this year due to injury," he said.
Jekabsone-Zogota was the 2007 FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year but hasn't worn the national team shirt since her last game at EuroBasket Women 2009, that was held in Latvia.
Babkina was a key player for Latvia last year at the EuroBasket Women in Poland.
She was advised by doctors not to play last season because of "cartilage wear" but elected to turn out for Fenerbahce.
Instead, she skipped Latvia's Qualification Round games this summer and spent time strengthening her knee.
Nerips proved to be an ideal fit for the team.
He had worked as the assistant coach to Latvia boss George Dikeoulakos the previous two summers, including at the EuroBasket Women 2011 when the team reached the Quarter-Finals.
Nerips had also worked as a youth team coach, leading Latvia at the U16 European Championship for Women in 2005 and 2009, the U20 European Championship for Women in 2006 and the U18 European Championship in 1010.
He has also coached club side TTT Riga.