Gian Paolo Montali, presently with the club of Milano has been chosen as the new coach of the Italian National Team. He replaces Andrea Anastasi, who finished the 2002 season with Italy's fourth place in the World League (their worst ever result), and a fifth place at the World Championship in Argentina.
Montali has already selected a squad of 22 players from which he will choose those who will participate in the World League, the first tournament for the new National Team. Montali has covered his bases, naming some new faces, while retaining some old and familiar ones, thus while launching a new era for the Italian side, he still can call on the talent and experience of his big stars.
"The Italian Team is now ranked fifth on the World Ranking," Montali said. "This means that we have to work a lot, be patient and determined and do our best to demonstrate what we will be able to reach."
"I don't have a lot to say, we just have to work and to take care of three important things: attitude, attitude, attitude!" the new national coach said, underlining that he expected his players to dedicate themselves to every competition, match, set and even rally.
Gian Paolo Montali comes to the position with a strong reputation for success, being the coach with the highest percentage of victories in all Italian competitions. He has won five different championships in four different cities. He has a very strong personality and a winning attitude. He believes taking on the national team is a great challenge and he intends to focus on the Olympic Games (Athens 2004), which he believes is the best way to motivate the team and to show how powerful they can be.
Montali's squad is Francesco Biribanti of Icom Latina (outside hitter); Vigor Bovolenta of Kerakoll Modena (middle blocker); Cristian Casoli of Noicom Cuneo, (wing spiker); Matej Cernic of Kerakoll Modena (wing spiker); Alberto Cisolla of Sisley Treviso (wing spiker); Paolo Cozzi of Asystel Milano(middle blocker); Alessandro Farina of Sisley Treviso (libero); Alessandro Fei of Sisley Treviso (middle blocker, outside hitter); Mauro Gavotto of Copra Piacenza (outside hitter); Andrea Giani of Kerakoll Modena (middle blocker); Pasquale Gravina of Lube Macerata (middle blocker); Luigi Mastrangelo of Lube Macerata (middle blocker); Marco Meoni of Lube Macerata (setter); Samuele Papi of Sisley Treviso (wing spiker); Damiano Pippi of Kerakoll Modena (libero); Cristian Savani of Bossini Montichiari (wing spiker/outside hitter; Pasquale Sottile of Noicom Cuneo (setter); Luca Tencati of Sisley Treviso (middle blocker); Paolo Torre of Icom Latina (setter); Daniele Vergnaghi of Asystel Milano (libero); Valero Vermiglio of Sisley Treviso (setter) and Hristo Zlatanov of Asystel Milano (wing-spiker) (Story by Giada Imperato, Milan, Photo credit to www.volleymilano.it)