Sasa Obradovic: “We want to write another chapter in the club’s history”

AS Monaco Basketball marked their return to pre-season training with a press conference in the Monte-Carlo Casino on Tuesday, where the objectives for the upcoming campaign were outlined.

Last season, the Roca Team surpassed expectations on a European level, reaching the playoffs in their debut Euroleague season. However, the season ended in heartbreak on a domestic level as the side were narrowly beaten by ASVEL in a five-leg thriller in the Betclic Elite.

Season objectives

The objectives this year are clear: consolidate and build-upon last season’s success. Once again, the club will be competing in the top tier of European basketball, and matching last season’s achievement is the minimum requirement. Coach Sasa Obradovic told Monaco Life, “I have always set big goals and there are so many factors that decide whether you reach them or not. I can guarantee that this team will give their maximum to achieve your expectations and goals.”

He continued, “For us, reaching the Euroleague playoffs is a must-do, and anything more than that is another step in writing another chapter in this team’s history and also the Principality’s history. In the Euroleague, this has to be the goal.”

New signing Jordan Loyd added, “Reaching the final four is always the goal, but besides just saying it, I think we really just need to put the work in. On paper we have a great team and if we all just buy in and sacrifice a lot we can do a lot of good things this year. I think we have a chance every night, no matter who we’re playing.” (Watch the video interview below)

Bringing continuity

To reach those goals, Monaco are counting on a highly altered roster. For consecutive seasons, there has been a high turnover at the Roca Team as the squad is moulded around ever more ambitious objectives. However, having found a “balance”, Oleksiy Yefimov is now aiming for a greater continuity, and he doesn’t foresee the same level of squad upheaval in the future.

Roca Team general manager Oleksiy Yefimov told Monaco Life, “We want to build a stable roster and we want that continuity. We want to avoid situations where we’re significantly changing the roster. Once you reach Euroleague level you cannot build up the team the same as you’ve been doing before. Last year, we entered the Euroleague as an unknown team, because of certain circumstances we took a risk in having four rookies, and we succeeded.”

There is also a very discernible shift in the club. Gone is the underdog mentality that has thus far defined a club, which has seen a sudden and steep rise. “It’s no longer the time for a Cinderella story; we need to be more professional and show that we’re well prepared for the Euroleague level. That’s why we have players with experience and players ready to commit long-term deals,” said Yefimov.

It is not only the quantity of reinforcements at Monaco that catches the eye, but the quality of those recruits. Many of those who arrive at the Salle Gaston Medecin do so with years of experience at the highest echelons of the game. Last year, Monaco were heavily reliant on star man Mike James, but the club’s summer business will ease that burden.

“Mike James is a really good player. We depended on him a lot last year. This year we have more options. He’s a key player, but we can also rely on the other guys, who can take over and make the difference in every position, even more so than in the previous year. I’m expecting even more team basketball to be played, and I’m expecting contributions from everyone. I also expect a bigger rotation, which will give us more consistency in the Euroleague and in the French division,” said Obradovic.

Notably, there are many more French players in the squad compared to last year. Betclic Elite rules stipulate that only six foreigners can play in any one match, and due to the lack of French players in the squad, it became difficult to be consistent on the European and domestic fronts.

“Now the team is more balanced with more French players in the roster and with fewer foreigners. This will help the coach rotate the team,” said Yefimov.

Stadium renovation

During the press conference, the club’s pre-season plans were unveiled. The club will first travel to Bormio. Then they’ll go directly to Sardinia to play a friendly tournament before travelling for a German tour. They will then finish their preparation in Antalya, Turkey.

None of the preparation for the season, which starts at the end of September, will take place in the Principality. That is due to the continued construction taking place at the Salle Gaston Medecin to make the court comply with Euroleague requirements.

The government’s Interior Minister, Patrice Cellario, revealed that the work on the hall was on schedule and that it will be ready for the first home game of the season on 2nd October. He also revealed that the capacity of the stadium will be 4,600, just above the minimum requirement stipulated by Euroleague regulations (4,500 minimum).

As Yefimov exclusively revealed to Monaco Life, the changes will allow the club to meet short-term goals, although in the long-term, they have more grand plans. “If we want to remain part of the Euroleague family, of course we have to think about having a new venue, but at the same time this isn’t the only thing we have to work on. We need to show Euroleague that due to our participation in the competition, that the organisation as a whole will benefit. This is also a huge element that will have an impact on our Euroleague future,” said Yefimov.

What underpins this ambition is new research, which shows the potential of the Roca Team. Yefimov revealed to Monaco Life that latest research shows that Monaco have overtaken ASVEL and Limoges, historic French clubs, to become the most recognised basketball brand in France.

To confirm their exponential growth off the court, another strong season on the court is a must, and ideally one which sees the club surpass last season’s Euroleague achievements, whilst also finally sealing that all-elusive Betclic Elite title.

Watch Luke Entwistle’s interview with American basketball player Jordan Loyd about his move to Monaco and his objectives for the season ahead…




Photo above credit: Manuel Vitali, Government Communication Department





The mission: to recycle gray water in Antarctica

Newly minted Monaco Tech alumni FGWRS will join the Prince Albert Foundation, Paul-Émile Victor French Polar Institute and the European Space Agency for a sustainability mission to Antarctica in December.

1,600 kilometres from the South Pole, the French-Italian Concordia base is about to be the test centre for a new type of gray water recycling system. The Firmus Gray Water Recycling System (FGWRS) will debut the programme on 6th December and will have a special guest join the team at the base camp.

Special guest Justin Sargenti, former student of Institut François d’Assise, Nicolas Barre (FANB) and winner of the Students On Ice 2015 competition organised by the Prince Albert II Foundation (FPA2), as well as a graduate of the National School of Architecture in Strasbourg, will live on the Franco-Italian Antarctic research station until 4th February 2023.

Passionate about photography and polar environments since his expedition to the Arctic in 2015 with Students On Ice, Justin has always been interested in the protection of the poles and life in this hostile environment. In addition, he is currently working toward a doctorate relating to comfort in the stations.

Justin Sargenti will join the mission on 6th December.

He has had to undergo rigorous medical examinations and will participate in a training course by the Concordia technical team for enduring Concordia winters by Monaco’s French counterpart FGWRS France.

“Since my expedition to the Arctic in 2015 following the Students On Ice competition with the FPA2, my dearest dream was to set foot on the Antarctic continent,” said Justin Sargenti. “Today, thanks to FGWRS and its work on the Concordia scientific base, I am offered the opportunity to live there for two months. It goes beyond anything I could ever dream of and motivates me to continue working in the polar environments and their preservation.”

The mission at Concordia station, which is in partnership with the Prince Albert II Foundation, the French Polar Institute and the European Space Agency (ESA), will test a new type of membrane that consumes less energy than the one currently in place. It will also, in conjunction with ESA, study the possibility of installing other recycling processes for yellow and black water at the research station.

Previous collaborations have been carried out by the French Polar Institute, the European Space Agency and FIRMUS, and gray water recycling was officially put into use at Concordia in 2005.

Since its installation, the process has been free of any technical or health incidents and more than six million litres of water has been saved via recycling water from the kitchen, showers, sinks and washing machines, which is treated and reused.




Bike Bonus extended until end of year

The French government is maintaining its Bike Bonus for people looking to buy a traditional, electric cargo or adapted bicycle until the end of this year, but the rules for obtaining the funds have changed.

The Bike Bonus programme has been a big success in France, helping people to buy bicycles as alternative forms of transportation to pollution-causing options.

Up until the 15th of August, state aid for the purchase of a bicycle under the programme came in addition to equivalent support from a local authority which was also promoting the use of alternative transport.

Now, until the 31st December, the €5 million allocated in funds will no longer be reliant on the municipality, region or department in which a person lives, but will be granted directly to the individual. The twist is that the grants will now be doled out depending on income status or certain disabilities.

The new system allows for 40% of the price, capped at €150, towards the purchase of a traditional bike, but will only be available to those whose incomes do not exceed €6,300, or for those with a disability.

For other types of bicycles, such as electric and cargo, the maximum is increased to €400 or 40% of the purchase price if income is less than €6,300. For those in an income bracket from €6,301 to €13,489 the bonus is capped at €300. For those with handicaps, that sum can go as high as €2,000 for a cargo bike, recumbent bike, bike adapted to a handicap situation, folding bike, whether electric or traditional, or an electric trailer, for tax income per individual less than or equal to €6,300. This becomes €1,000 for taxable income between €6,301 and €13,489, or for a company, association, community.

Additionally, if a person is offloading an old vehicle, meaning a car or van from before 2006 for petrol engines, and before 2011 for diesel, that they have owned for more than a year, they can benefit from a conversion increased to 40% of the acquisition price within the limit of €1,500, regardless of their level of income.

This bonus can be paid to each member of the same household buying an electric, folding, cargo bike, or the like until the end of 2022.

Furthermore, for those living in low-emission zones and the local authority has paid out aid to buy or rent an electrically assisted bicycle, this premium is increased by €1,000.

The website with the application for aid can be found at



Photo credit: KBO Bike on Unsplash





EU researchers invited to ‘Innovate with Monaco’

The Principality is taking sustainability goals to another level at an Innovate with Monaco session, inviting European researchers to pitch their ideas to the EU and highlight tech and artificial intelligence projects.  

EU researchers are being invited to partner with Monaco for their next innovative professional proposal. Via the ‘Innovate with Monaco’ meeting, they can present their new programmes and projects for the European Union.

The recent agreement between Monaco and the European Commission now allows companies in the Principality to take part in collaborative calls for research and development proposals launched by the EU.

A series of presentations will take place during the event including from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, who will be speaking about protecting and progressing planetary health for the present and future generations, and a talk on energy optimisation solutions for buildings by Pascal Torres, CEO of Enoleo SAM.

Additionally, Frederic Dalmasie, CEO of Agricorp, a part of the Monaco Resources Group, will speak on the agro-industry as a driver of sustainable development, Sam Ramadori, CEO of Brainbox AI, will let audiences in on how AI is being used in over 70 cities to make buildings smarter and greener, and Valeria Ferrando, associate Director at IES, will speak about how digital twin technologies are being used as a tool to develop urban-scale decarbonisation roadmaps.

The event is being held on 7th September at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen in Nice as part of the Sustainable Places 2022 Conference, which runs 6th to 9th September. For more information and to book tickets, visit



 Photo by Victor He on Unsplash