Porto, Portugal, February 3, 2005. Cubaís Gladston Orlando Samuels Blackwood, the newly appointed coach of the Portuguese menís national team, arrived in Portugal on Wednesday.
Samuels, who succeeded fellow national Juan Diaz who is now working in Qatar, admitted his main objectives in 2005 are to see Portugal succeed in the Senior European Championship, the 2006 World Championships as well as the World League.
"I know that Portuguese Volleyball is nowadays much stronger than I experienced at the World Championships in Argentina", revealed Samuels who was welcomed at the Porto airport by the President of the Portuguese Volleyball Federation Mr. Vicente Araķjo and the General Secretary Mr. Teodemiro de Carvalho. "I know that they are an ambitious young team and I will try to do my best this year in order to perform well at the European Championship Finals, the early rounds of the 2006 World Championship as well as the World League."
Samuels was coach of the Cuban menís team from 1985 to 1994, taking them to victory at the World Cup in 1989 and the Pan-American Games, as well as becoming two-time vice world champion. And Portugal is not new to the 58-year-old given that he worked with the national menís junior team in the season of 1997/98.
The new Portugal coach now has three months to observe and prepare his new squad for the season ahead, before starting practical work at the beginning of May.