Turin, Italy, September 24, 2010 – Silvano Prandi returns to his native land of Italy and his hometown of Turin to lead Bulgaria at the 2010 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship. Bulgaria is grouped in Pool E and playing in Turin with China, Czech Republic and France.
After the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Prandi was appointed coach of Bulgaria in October 2008. He found quick success in 2009 by leading his team to the bronze medal at the 2009 European Championship and spot into the World Championship.
Bulgaria, ranked seventh in the latest FIVB world ranking, opens the 2010 FIVB World Championship against China on Sept. 25 at 9 p.m.
“It seems very normal coaching Bulgaria,” Prandi said in regards to his Italian heritage and transitioning to be the Bulgarian National Team head coach. “We have eight Italian coaches leading different National Federations. I think from the Italian fans’ perspective, this is very normal as well.”
Prandi, who coached the Italian national team to the bronze medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, has coaching stops with Italian club teams including Trentino and Bre Banca Lannutti where he won four national titles, one Champions League title, five CEV Cups and four national cups. Prandi has been honored with the Lega Italiana Coach of the Year four times during his career.
Prandi says the transition to the Bulgarian team has been helped by two common areas: the Italian language and the common love of volleyball.
“Our communication in our mother language is always better as you can better express how you feel,” Prandi said. “About half of the Bulgarian team communicates well in Italian. They want to learn Italian as it is an international volleyball language. Last year, I spoke English and now I am speaking more and more Italian this year. I also have a Bulgarian assistant coach who helps communicate to the players as well. In the process, I have also learned some Bulgarian words.”
And curiously, Prandi’s roots in volleyball have a Bulgarian tie.
“I learned volleyball 30-40 years ago from Bulgarian coaches while living here in Turin,” Prandi said.
According to Prandi, the Italian professional league in which he coached prior to taking his current Bulgarian role has become a source of inspiration and pride to be a part of.
“The Italian championship is like the National Basketball Association in the United States for volleyball,” Prandi said. “The league has the best players in the world and the volleyball is part of the Italian culture.”
Despite his Italian and Turin roots, Prandi believes local fans attending the Pool E matches will support good volleyball regardless if he leads Bulgaria or not.
“I believe volleyball supporters here in Turin will support any match and any players who play well and produce exciting matches,” Prandi said. “Fans here like good volleyball.”
Bulgaria has reached the World Championship podium five times in its history, including the bronze medal at the last event in 2006. Bulgaria’s top finish at the World Championship was in 1970 as it won silver. Bulgaria is making its 16th appearance in the FIVB World Championship, tops among all countries. It missed only the 1960 event in Rio De Janeiro.
Prandi, known as the “Professor,” has already experienced the challenge of facing his native country on the opposite side of the net. At the 2009 European Championship Final Round in Istanbul, Bulgaria pulled of a hard-fought 26-24, 25-22, 25-22 victory on Sept. 4, 2009.
FIVB Press Department Director - Richard Baker
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