BUENOS AIRES (FIBA AmeriCup 2017/FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019) - Veteran coach Sergio Hernandez will be the man that attempts to guide Argentina into the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, the country's federation has announced.
The 53-year-old, who first led his national team in 2005 and has guided them at FIBA Basketball World Cups and Olympic Games, has signed a contract presented by Argentina Basketball Confederation (CABB) President Federico Susbielles that makes him a full-time coach for the first time.
Hernandez led Argentina into the Quarter-Finals of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
He will coach the team this summer when Argentina play in the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 before leading the team in its World Cup qualifying campaign, which gets underway in November.
"We want to be in everything," Hernandez said. "We want to win the AmeriCup, to be in the World Cup, to do a good job there and that takes us directly to the Olympic Games. I have been able to experience three Olympic Games and that is a motivation in itself to have a chance to return to take part in such an event."
Under FIBA's Competition System 2017+, teams can only reach the Olympics by way of first playing - and performing well - in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Argentina waved good-bye to long-time national team stars Manu Ginobili and Andres Nocioni after last year's Olympic campaign but the team still has two members of its golden generation in captain Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino.
Both were in the Argentina side that won the 2004 Olympic gold medal in Athens.
Point guard Facundo Campazzo also has a prominent role. Scola and Campazzo were key men in 2015 when a Hernandez-coached Argentina beat hosts Mexico in the Semi-Finals of the FIBA AmeriCup to qualify for Rio.
Hernandez's Argentina were fifth at the 2010 FIBA Basketball World Cup. He was an assistant to Julio Lamas in 2012 when Argentina came in fourth at the London Olympics.
"For us, it's an important day," Susbielles said.
"We begin a new stage in the national team and we hope this journey ends in Tokyo. We believe we are leaving the team in the best of hands and we thank Sergio for maintaining the confidence in CABB.
"We are renewing dreams. We hope that we continue to write historic pages in Argentinian basketball. We will do everything that we can, everything necessary to give the best structure and the best planning possible."