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Klemen Cebulj: We are ready to play in the VNL

Klemen Cebulj in action for Slovenia
Ljubljana, Slovenia, July 3, 2019 – Slovenia are fully motivated ahead of the first day of the 2019 FIVB Men’s Challenger Cup. Opposite hitter Klemen Cebulj admits that his team want to finally fulfil their objective and join the world’s elite by winning the tournament and a place in the the 2020 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

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The 27-year-old player emphasised that progressing to the Volleyball Nations League would crown their long-term efforts. "We are very happy that we got this opportunity to host the FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup in Slovenia, in our capital city. We are ready for this challenge and definitely we are very proud to be the hosts. We worked very hard for many years, we had many possibilities in the past, we won the World League Group 2, but then the format of the competition was changed to the Volleyball Nations League. Now we have this opportunity to qualify for the VNL and I hope we will manage to do it in front of our fantastic fans,” said Cebulj.

For the Slovenian, competing in the Volleyball Nations League would be more than just a reward, it would also be an excellent opportunity to improve. “I think that every national team which plays in the VNL has a possibility to grow and to play many matches against very strong teams. It will be a pleasure and prestige to be among them. When competing in the VNL, you play around the world against the best teams and we think that we are ready for this. We are an experienced team, we know each other very well. This team have already played together for a long time, so we know almost everything about each other. It gives us an advantage, we competed in this squad at many top events, even at high-stakes games.”

In February, Alberto Giuliani was appointed as the new head coach of Slovenia bringing freshness and new quality to the team. “I personally really like him and his attitude. We work hard, but we also have fun and this kind of balance between hard work and fun on and off the court is really important. This is also a merit of his mentality. I follow his rules and I feel pretty good about it,” Cebulj said.

Both Cebulj and the Slovenian team have high ambitions. “I want to play at the Olympic Games and achieve a historical result there. We have a strong group at the Olympic qualification tournament and on a tough court, because playing against Poland on their home soil is always difficult. But we will play hard and we hope we can make it. It will be a huge challenge, but playing for an Olympic qualification is something unique.”

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