The men's basketball team preparations for today's opening match against Iceland suffered an unexpected hiccup yesterday after Bruno Dipietrantonio's squad was driven to the wrong venue by a Cypriot bus driver.

Italian coach Dipietrantonio and his players were due to practise for the first time at the Eleftheria Indoor Hall, in Nicosia, yesterday morning but they didn't realise that the bus driver had taken a wrong turn to another basketball pavilion that was unfit to host training sessions.

"We're very disappointed with the organising committee," Louis Azzopardi, deputy president of the Malta Basketball Association, told The Times.

"Our team wanted to try out the court in this morning's session but unfortunately we ended up at the wrong venue with very little equipment available. There was only one board available and we did very little of what the coach had planned."

All six participating teams, Luxembourg, Iceland, Malta, Cyprus, San Marino and Andorra, are allowed to train at the Eleftheria Indoor Hall once before their opening match and the basketball officials moved quickly to remedy the situation with the Cyprus organisers.

"We protested with the organising committee for what happened and they informed us that the team will still have the opportunity to do a warm-up at Eleftheria tomorrow (today) at 10, four hours before the opening match against Iceland," Azzopardi said.

On the other hand, the women's team faced little problems when finalising their build-up for today's opening match, also against Iceland.

National coach Santino Coppa has a full squad at his disposal but admitted that the Nordic opponents could be tough clients for the Maltese.

"We have no injury worries but we haven't had a long period of preparation either and Iceland are a very tough side to play against. But we're certainly aiming to do our outmost to start the tournament on a sound footing," Coppa siad.

Iceland will again rely on Helena Sverrisdottir, the 21-year-old playmaker.

The other two teams in the tournament are Cyprus and Luxembourg who clash in the other match today.

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