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Men’s Volleyball Challenger Cup participants ready to show their best

The team captains during the media meeting before the FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup in Slovenia. From left to right: Tine Urnaut (SLO), Siarhei Busel (BLR), Arslan Eksi (TUR), Dusan Bonacic (CHI), Ahmed Abdelhay (EGY), Livan Osoria (CUB).
Ljubljana, Slovenia, July 2, 2019 – The participants of the 2019 FIVB Men's Volleyball Challenger Cup in Ljubljana emphasised that they are here to win the tournament and to progress to the 2020 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, but first they have to focus on games in the group stage.

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Tine Urnaut, captain of Slovenia: "We play against a team which is a little bit unknown for us, but we will try to prepare as well as we can. We will do our best to win the first match in front of our home crowd. Our goal is to win this tournament, but the only way to do it is to stay focused on every opponent and on every match separately."

Tine Urnaut answers questions from the press

Alberto Giuliani, head coach of Slovenia:
"It looks like we are in good shape, but official games will verify this. During the preparation period and friendly matches against Egypt I saw many good things, but an official match is not the same. I want to improve the level of our game during this tournament and I expect that we are going to play better and better. Certainly, our goal is to win this tournament, but teh first step is to win a match against Chile."

Siarhei Busel, captain of Belarus: "For the first time ever we compete on the global stage. It’s also a first opportunity to play against Cuba and Egypt, so it's a big challenge for us. We want to show our best volleyball and win at least one game to progress to the next stage."

Viktar Beksha, head coach of Belarus: "During this season we have always stayed focused on one game, of course we look further having some goals and we will do the same here. We concentrate on every match, we now are focused on games against Egypt and Cuba. All teams are strong here, but when we were starting the European Golden League this season, no one expected us to play the final and we managed to do it, being a dark horse of the event. We are happy to be here, we have many young players and they will do their best in every game. For us it's a big experience to play against teams from other continents. Our goal is of course is to play in the VNL as it's the top competition in the world."

Dusan Bonacic, captain of Chile: "We know that Slovenia and Turkey are extremely strong teams, but it can be enough to win one match to go to the semifinal and then anything is possible. We hope to show the power of the Chilean team. We want to show our best in all elements in attack, service, reception and defence, our team effort can bring great results."

The coaches of the six teams in Ljubljana

Daniel Nejamkin, head coach of Chile: "This is going to be a tough tournament, I am aware of the strength of both European teams that we are going to face in the group stage. We will do our best and we will try to claim at least one win, however we are still in the phase of preparations for our biggest challenge, the South American Cup is still ahead of us."

Livan Osoria, captain of Cuba: "The venue in Ljubljana is really nice, we had an opportunity to train there yesterday and today and we are going to use the fact that we have the first match on Thursday as an advantage. I believe that we have a good and well-prepared team, so we will enter the court every time to win."

Nicolas Ernesto Vives Coffigny: "Our goal is always to win every match we play, also here we will come to the venue to show our best, aiming to win. We have worked very hard and we proved it by winning the Pan-American Cup. My guys are very well prepared and therefore we are always aiming to win here."

Gido Vermeulen, head coach of Egypt:  "We are very happy to be here, but it's a challenge to play in the Challenger Cup. It's good for us to be in Europe and to play against European teams, because we can improve our level. This is a long season, but the VCC is our first goal. I think that to play in the VNL is a dream for every team, but we have to stay focused on our first game. Belarus did an incredible job in the European Golden League, especially in the game against the Netherlands and that we didn't expect. We have to be seriously prepared for this game."

Ahmed Abdelhay, captain of Egypt: "I'm very happy to play at the Challenger Cup. We want to show our maximum, we will give our best to win matches here. We have wonderful circumstances here, so I believe that it will help us to achieve great results here."

Arslan Eksi, captain of Turkey: "We are glad to be here, it's the first time for Turkey to play at the Challenger Cup. We came here as an unbeaten team, we made a great tournament in Estonia [European Golden League Final Four], but now this is in the books. We have to look ahead, we are starting a group stage of the VCC now and we are going to play against Chile and Slovenia. Our first goal is to reach the final, everybody knows that Slovenia is a favourite here, but anything can happen."

Nedim Ozbey, head coach of Turkey: "We want to finish this event staying unbeaten and topping the podium. This tournament is extremely important, because the winner will progress to the Volleyball Nations League and this is definitely our goal - to represent our country in the VNL. We are here, because we have a successful season, so also here we want to win."

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