Kingston, Jamaica, April 11, 2005 - Jamaica National Female Volleyball technical director , Phillip Greenland, has expressed optimism about his squad chances of advancing to the next stage of qualifiers for the November 2006 World Championships that will be held in Japan.
Greenland said despite the fact that the team has not been together for a long time because of club commitments, the players are capable of toppling the opposition come April 15-17 when round one of the North, Central America and the Caribbean Confederation (Norceca) qualifiers are played here.
"The British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands have not yet reached our level so we expect to beat them. Our greatest challenge should come from the Netherlands Antilles. They have a deeply entrenched system and thus their talent base is presumably strong. However, I believe we can beat them too," Greenland said.
Jamaica is the number two ranked Caribbean team and 47th in the world. In fact, the team is the highest ranked in this pool of four, with the Netherlands Antilles ranked at 58th and the other teams unranked.
The last time Jamaica embarked on World Championship qualifying journey in Volleyball was in 2001. Their strides took them to the second round of the qualifiers in Aruba but Greenland believes that after Jamaica get past the upcoming hurdles, they also stand a good chance of getting past the second round which takes place in the Dominican Republic between August 24 and 28. If Jamaica advances to that stage they will meet Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Central American champions Costa Rica and a second place team from the Central America.
Three of these five teams will advance to the World Championships and Greenland is eying a first ever World Championship berth for Jamaica.
"Getting to the second round will mean that we are two games away from Japan. We are confident that we have the ability to get there and hence we are working assiduously to ensure that the dream is achieved," Greenland said.
Meanwhile, commenting on the make-up of his team, the technical director and trainer has indicated that it has balance, depth and players who all want to do well.
"They are all excited. They are ready to go. None of these players have ever played an international game before their home crowd and it's something all of them are waiting to do," he said.
"Coming out of the club championships they are all in good shape and judging by the enthusiasm they have being showing I know they are eager to pull it off," Greenland added.