- National Teams
Former Great Britain Senior Women’s Head Coach Chema Buceta has explained the circumstances around his departure and bid farewell to the programme in a video message to the British basketball community.
In the first public communication from Buceta since his shock departure by ‘mutual consent’ earlier this month, the coach explained BBF Chairman Chris Grant felt the team ‘needed a change’ and so they mutually decided to part ways.
In eight years in the role Buceta was popular amongst players, and led the team to a historic fourth place at FIBA EuroBasket 2019 in what is the best ever run by a GB Senior National Team.
In the video he showed immense gratitude for his time with the programme, thanking players, staff and partners, wishing the federation well and pointing to his trademark ‘positive glasses’.
The full statement is as follows:
“Hello, dear British basketball family, my basketball family,
“Thank you so much for all the messages, kind messages, that I’ve got after knowing that I was stepping down from the position of the head coach of the GB team, national team women. I was able to answer many of you privately, but I couldn’t do it with everybody, then I wanted to have this final public statement for all of you, to thank you for your trust and support during the eight years that I’ve been in this position.
“And today, look, it’s raining in Madrid. So probably is the best moment to transmit you this message, like if I was in Manchester.
“About two, three weeks ago, I had a long and open conversation with Chris Grant, the current chairman of the British Basketball Federation. Chris said that he had the feeling that the team needed some kind of change, some kind of new input, and then I told him that although this was not my perception, I respect it, and of course, I appreciated his sincerity.
“And then I told him that if this was his feeling, the best thing would be to change from the top, from the position of the head coach.
“I came here in 2015 with the aim of helping, help, was my aim all this time. And then I don’t want to be an obstacle interfering with the new plans of the British Basketball Federation. Therefore Chris and I both agreed that the best idea was for me to step down from the position. So now the federation has the platform free to develop the new plans that they have.
“And then, of course, I wish all the best to the Federation. I hope that this plan succeeds and helps British basketball, and in particular the women’s team, to move forward and to keep growing.
“For me, to be the head coach of the GB national team women was a great, great honour. I am not British, but I never felt that I was a foreigner.
“In fact, what I felt was that I was like at home, and that was fantastic. I want to thank you for making me feel like this. From the first moment, I was aware of the high responsibility and commitment that I had representing GB at international level.
“I also understood that this was not just a job. It was much more than a job. It was the high commitment to help to develop British basketball, including its public image, inside and outside the country, and also to help young women and staff to grow both personally and professionally.
“I tried to help the players to be ambitious, to develop their potential talent, to believe in themselves, to make decisions with no fear of making mistakes, to be mentally stronger and to develop a team mindset.
“I was very happy to see in many of the messages that you ladies send me that these aspects were highlighted. I strongly believe that basketball is a great opportunity to develop strong values for life. And in the case of top athletes, like all of you are, it is a great platform to be inspiring role models for many young girls who observe and admire you.
“Thank you so much.
“I want to thank you ladies, all of you who represented GB during these years. Thank you for your outstanding and generous commitment and effort. You gave the best of yourselves, regardless of what was your position in the team, your role in the team. You put the interests and the needs of the team always in front of yours, and that was fantastic.
“We shared the passion of basketball, the proudness of representing GB, and the goal of achieving high. We trusted and supported each other on both. When winning and losing, we were able to stay together and that was fantastic. You also helped to create a great team environment and great chemistry that was one of the pillars of the team.
“For all these reasons, this journey with you was much, much more than worth (it). Thank you so much.
“Of course, I made mistakes, probably more mistakes than the ones that I would like to, but I made it, and then I apologise. I apologise especially for the mistakes that affected personally any of you and the ones that affected the team outcome.
“Although players are the main actors in basketball, it is obvious that they need competent people around to help them to perform and succeed. It was an honour and a pleasure to share all these years with a superb staff of highly committed and very efficient professionals; coaches, medical staff, team managers, media guys, etcetera.
“Lads, you did a great job. We worked hard. We had a great time together working very hard and you did a great job. You must be very proud of what you did for the team. Thank you so much. Not only for what you did in your specific areas, that was outstanding, also for what you did to create a great synergy that helped the team to grow and succeed.
“Thank you. Thank you so much.
“Also, I want to thank all the directors, board members, chairmen, and also institutions like Home Nations and Manchester Council, and many, many friends who helped us in very difficult moments, especially when we had lack of funding and the federation was progressively deteriorating.
“Thank you so much.
“You did what you could and that was fantastic to be able to survive and not only that, to compete at high level. Thank you so much also to the personnel of the Holiday Inn Hotel in Manchester where we felt like at home, and also to many fans and supporters who cared and supported the team during these years.
“In 2019, a label that was part of our internal culture became popular. Positive glasses. According to FIBA, more than 25 million people saw it and many of them liked it. When we use glasses is to see reality better. We don’t want to invent or see things that do not exist, no, no, we want to see reality.
“And the purpose of positive glasses is to see better the positive side of reality. In first place, how fortunate we are to be alive, since life is the best gift that we have, and also how fortunate we are to love people, to be loved by people, to have friends, and to share the passion of a great game like it is basketball.
“Now, my positive glasses are focused on how fortunate I was by being the coach of the GB national team women, meeting so many nice people, developing friendships with many of you, sharing emotions and in general being so, so, so happy with this job.
“I know that I will not be wearing the jersey of GB anymore. I will not be in this prestigious bench anymore, but I will have the team and all of you very deep in my heart forever.
“I wish you all of you all the best. Remember that there is no small project if we make it big with our positive attitude and our hard and wise work. So be happy, make big any project that you have, I’m sure that will help British Basketball to grow and to move forward.
“You know where I am for anything you need. Thank you, thank you so much.
“And positive glasses!”