CAMPINAS, July 27, 2016 – As they set out to face Japan in preparation for the Rio Games, Brazil are excited to have Erika De Souza available for the first time in three months.
The two-game warm-up series against the 2015 FIBA Asia champions tips off on Wednesday in Campinas and finishes on Friday.
“All I really want is to give Brazil a medal. This is the reason I have been working all these years.” – De Souza
As one of the two Rio de Janeiro natives – alongside Clarissa Dos Santos – in Brazil’s final roster, De Souza admits this is a special moment in her basketball career.
The 1.97m center missed most of her country’s preparations because of her WNBA commitments but she joined Carlos Barbosa’s side last week and all she wants now is to make a difference with green-yellow jersey.
“The most important thing is that I have joined the team and I will give everything I can to help my national team,” said the 34-year-old.
Although Brazil won the South American Championship back in May without De Souza, they were outplayed by France earlier this month, raising questions about the team’s potential to compete against world powerhouse.
Yet, De Souza has an explanation why things might be better for Brazil in Rio.
“I am looking forward to representing my national team in my hometown in front of my friends and family,” she said. “All I really want is to give Brazil a medal. This is the reason I have been working all these years.”
She can’t even stop calling on her fellow Brazilians to support the team.
The two-time Olympian pointed out that while their opponents have potential, so do they.
“We just need to play with joy, and this is something we are used to,” she said.
After their series against Japan, Brazil will move to Rio to continue their build-up for the Olympics by taking on Serbia (2 August) and China (3 August).
In the Women’s Olympic Basketball Tournament, Brazil will open their Group A campaign against Australia (6 August), before going up against Belarus, France, Japan and Turkey.