Ólafur Rafnsson heitinn afhendir körfuknattleiksmönnum gullpeningana fyrir sigurinn á Smáþjóðaleikunum í Mónakó.
Á morgun mætast Ísland og Kýpur í landsleik í körfubolta í fyrsta sinn í yfir 9 ár. Síðast þegar liðin mættust þá var það í hreinum úrslitaleik um gullið á Smáþjóðaleikunum árið 2007. Sá leikur átti eftir að fara í sögubækurnar.
Kýpur þurfti að vinna Ísland með sautján stigum eða meira til að tryggja sér gullverðlaunin. Þegar um tvær mínútur voru eftir leiks þá var munurinn einungis 6 stig og ekki miklar líkur á að Kýpur tækist ætlunarverk sitt. Kýpverjar gerðu þá það eina lógíska í stöðunni: láta skapið fara með sig og fara að lemja á íslendingunum jafnt sem dómurunum. Endaði það með því að leikurinn var flautaður af, Íslendingum var dæmdur sigur og fengu þeir að launum lögreglufylgd út úr húsi. Kýpverjar voru sjálfir sendir heim með skít og skömm og fékk körfuboltastórveldið Lúxemborg silfurverðlaunin í stað þeirra.
Kýpverjar voru þó ekki á því að þetta hefði verið þeim að kenna eins og sást í viðtali Eurobasket.com við Panagiotis Trisokkas, leikmann Kýpurs, á sínum tíma.
“I was hit in the first minute of the game by an opponent showing us what to expect from the match” Trisokkas told us and continued “through-out the game the Iceland Judo team was present at the stadium and kept on threatening us from the stands”.
“The Iceland assistant coach (Fridrik Ingi Runarsson) who was head coach during the 2001 GSSE still holds a grudge on the Cyprus National Team and made sure to prove it during our game in Monaco. He also kept on threatening that he will attack the former Cyprus Head Coach Memos Ioannou following their encounter in San Marino in 2001”.
Trisokkas then told us about the moment the fighting broke out: “Their assistant coach (Runarsson) was verbally attacking us and when Michalis Kounounis was in front of their bench to bring the ball back into play he was attacked by the Icelanders. That’s when our team moved towards their side and started fighting back. Birmingham was pushing his teammates towards us to provoke us”.
The Cypriot international admitted that the way they reacted was wrong and that he also took part in the events: “I also gave a few punches during the rumble”.
About the referee being hit by a Cypriot player, Panagiotis Trisokkas told us that Giorgos Theocharidis was the person that did it but isn’t to be blamed: “Someone grabbed Theocharidis from the back and the youngster didn’t see who it was so he shoved him off. That’s when the referee fell on the ground. At that point the referees and Icelanders went into the locker rooms”.
Í stuttu máli: Þetta var allt Frikka að kenna.
Mynd. fibaeurope.com / Gunnar Freyr
Brenton Birmingham, sem lék með landsliðinu á Smáþjóðaleikunum, hafði aðra sögu að segja.
“From the beginning of the game the Cypriot players made it clear that this was not going to be your typical basketball game. A hard foul in the first minute set the tone”.
“In the second minute, I was slashed above my eye by Grigoris Pantouris. It was a play that sent me out for the rest of the first half, and I needed 3 stitches. I remember after it happened, I was holding my eye, and I looked up. Grigoris was looking at me with a blank stare. He didn’t show sportsmanship to see if I was ok, or say “my bad”. He just stared at me”!
Next up was the moment that caused it all, with less than three minutes to play: “With just over two and a half minutes to play, a foul was called on Iceland. Many of the Cypriot players thought it should have been called an intentional foul. Aris Koronides started yelling at the referee and was called a technical foul. The technical infuriated him more, and he started cursing at the ref. Seconds later he was ejected from the game. Koronides followed the referee to the scorers table, yelling and cursing at him. Seconds later I noticed two Cypriot players in my coach’s face. I went over to separate them, and within a flash, the entire Cypriot bench came running over. Both teams were now face to face, and I remember pointing for them to go back to their bench. Suddenly, and rather surprisingly, I was punched in the face by Panagiotis Trisokkas”!
About Theocharidis assaulting the referee Birmingham gave his point of view: “One referee grabbed a Cypriot player (Theocharidis) and tried to pull him out of the crowd. Seconds later he was throwing the ref to the floor”.
At the end Birmingham told us that the Cypriots threatened them while they were in the lockers and kept on cursing at them.
Leikur liðanna verður í beinni útsendingu á Rúv á morgun, laugardaginn 3. september, og hefst hún kl 13:40.