High-profile friendly in Athens

Preparing to defend its European title at the Eurobasket finals in Madrid this coming September, the Greek men’s team is scheduled to play a friendly game in Athens on Saturday against an all-star European team that is expected to feature some of the continent’s leading players. Pitting the reigning European champion against a European all-star team, the Eurostar game, as FIBA Europe had dubbed the showdown, was last staged in 1999. FIBA Europe, the sport’s governing body for the continent, plans to stage the Eurostar game every two years. Tickets for the friendly, at the 17,000-capacity OAKA stadium in Athens, have sold surprisingly well so far. According to game officials, some 4,000 tickets have been purchased by fans. The game’s attendance figure, organizers predicted, would reach about 10,000. Greece coach Panayiotis Yiannakis has selected all his team’s stars for the occasion. The European all-star team, whose squad will include Dejan Bodiroga, Predrag Stojakovic, Felipe Reyes and Ibrahim Kutluay, will be coached by Panathinaikos’s Zelimir Obradovic, who recently completed a perfect season with the Athens club, both domestically and in Europe.

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