April 22, 2003 - The Venezuelan national men's team has targeted small yet significant improvement as the goal for this year's World League.
With an average age of 21.61, compared to 22.16 last year, Venezuela will welcome any enhancement on their last two results at the World League - 13th in 2001 and last in 2002.
Pre-season training has already started at the Gastón Portillo court, in the Instituto Nacional de Deportes in Caracas with only four players Daniel Mata, Héctor Urbina, Manzanillo and Carlos Tejeda in practice under the watchful eyes of Miguel Cambero and José Mejías, the assistant coaches.
It's a big task for the youthful Venezuelan side, which has seen the introduction of a new setter Héctor Guzmán to the squad for 2003, to build upon the youthful platform that has tasted the World League and World Championship (where they finished 17th in 2002) over the past two years. But with this experience a change from the lower rungs of the international tournaments is a distinct possibility.
Head coach David Suárez is due back next week after recovering from an illness, where he also expects to have all his team members back from playing in their respective club competitions.
One of the youngest players at 20 and one of the biggest stars in Venezuelan volleyball Ernardo "Harry" Gómez will arrive by the end of this month along with Andy Rojas, Thomas Ereu, Manuel Blanco, Juan Carlos Blanco, Carlos Luna and Ivan Marquez. They all play in the leagues of Greece, Spain, Dominican Republic and Argentina.
Good preparation for when Venezuela come up against the likes of Russia, Poland and Spain in the cities of Guanaré, Barquisimeto and Cabimas in their World League Pool A.