Kagoshima, Japan, October 29, 2003 - The Brazilian womenís national team has enjoyed a good warm-up here ahead of the 2003 World Cup of Volleyball by taking advantage of their close links with one of Japanís leading club
sides for some match practice ahead of the start of the first Olympic qualifier this week.
In Japan since Sunday, the Brazil team moved on to the city of Kobe where
they have been training with Hisamitsu Springs, champions of the Japanese
V-League and third in the standings this season.
The Brazil women's team is currently going through a period of rebuilding and generation change and are now under new coach Jose Guimaraes. According to his assistant Carlos Bizzochi, the time spent with Hisamitsu has allowed the South American
champions to slowly acclimatize, gain on-court practice and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead in this 12-team round robin competition where the top three teams directly qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
"Everything is going okay, things are very good for us and weíre slowly
adapting to the time difference," Bizzochi said on Wednesday. There is 12 hours time difference between Japan and Brazil.
"We have played three practice matches against Kobe (Hisamitsu), two on
Tuesday and one today. We have a lot of players returning to the national
side so itís important for us to get as much practice as we can. Weíre
looking for a good combination of youth and experience in the team."
Brazil, who qualified for the World Cup after winning the South American
Continental Championships, begin their campaign with a challenging tie
against Asian champions China in the southern Japanese city of Kagoshima on
Although Bizzochi said he was pleased with the teamís preparations, he also
admitted how difficult it was going to be to finish in the top three where a brace of countries are in with excellent chances of making the podium.
"Our aim is to qualify for the Olympics and we hope itís possible," Bizzochi
added. "But we know the World Cup is very difficult. There are six or seven
teams who have a chance of winning, or finishing in the top three. I think
our main opposition will come from Italy, USA, China, Japan, Turkey and Poland."
After their opener against China, Brazil take on Turkey on Sunday and Poland
the following day before moving on to Sendai for the second stage of World
Cup matches in Site B. All 12 teams face each other once in the competition that visits a range of cities in this classic tournament that is traditionally held in Japan.
The other two Site B games on Saturday see Cuba face wildcards the Dominican
Republic in the opening match, while Poland face Turkey in the third tie of
the day. The Site A games in Tokyo feature Korea versus the USA, Egypt
against Italy and hosts Japan versus Argentina.