May 20, 2003 - The national men's team of Venezuela has arrived in the little lakeside city of Cabimas, where they will host defending champions Russia this weekend in the opening round of World League Group A matches.
Coach Miguel Cambero will be relying on the passionate home crowd support from fans from around the lake of Maracaibo and a little bit of the unknown to take on the World No 1 ranked team in this difficult encounter in Venezuela. Cambero has included a number of surprises in his team lineup, excluding such big names as Andy Rojas (Consenza of Italy), Héctor Urbina, Manuel Blanco, Héctor Guzmán, Daniel Mata and Jorge Silva. Ernardo 'Harry' Gómez has been named as captain to lead a side including líbero Gustavo Valderrama, Rodman Valera, Luis Díaz, Andrés Manzanillo, Ronald Méndez, Carlos Tejeda, Thomas Ereú, Iván Márquez, Juan Carlos Blanco and Freddy Cedeño.
The 2003 World League marks Venezuela's third appearance in international volleyball's most prestigious event, where they have a record of four victories and 20 defeats. However, Venezuelan fans will be hoping for an improved performance in 2003 compared to last year's effort where after losing six games 0-3 they finally beat China in their only win of the tournament.
Cambero will lead his team in double training sessions (morning and afternoon) starting on Tuesday in the "Domo" of Cabimas hall, the venue for Saturday and Sunday's matches.
The referees of both matches will be Canadian Guy Bradbury and Omelio Jesús Castillo from Cuba.