Plenty at stake for Japan & Venezuela
in Pool A
Japan, June 17, 2005 - Although Portugal
and four-time champions Brazil are
dominating Pool A in the 2005 World
League, the head coaches of Japan and
Venezuela say they still have plenty to
play for this weekend.
At a press conference in Tokyo on Friday
evening, Japan's Tatsuya Ueta and
Venezuela's Eliseo Ramos said the World
League would continue to play an
important part in the overall
development of their respective teams.
"We are at the halfway stage of the
World League, and we are learning what
we need to do to compete against the
best teams in the world," Ueta told
reporters at Yoyogi National Gymnasium.
"Now we can look forward to the second
half of the tournament and hopefully
achieve some better results."
Pic: Captain Ernardo "Harry" Gomez
will be Venezuela's key weapon since he
plays his club Volleyball in Japan
Japan have lost all six matches so far
and won only three sets. Venezuela beat
them 3-1 and 3-0 when they met earlier
this month in Caracas.
Venezuela's Cuban coach, Ramos, will be
looking for a big improvement after his
team went down twice in straight sets in
Portugal last weekend.
"We suffered two painful defeats in
Portugal, but we have been training well
since arriving in Japan and our minds
are refreshed," Ramos said. "I am sure
we will play better than last weekend
and that we can have two very
interesting matches against Japan.
"I have been head coach for only four
months, so all these games are a step
toward the World Championship qualifying
tournament in July and toward the 2008
Olympic Games. The World League is
important because we are developing our
style of play in order to achieve our
Japan's task will not be made any easier
because they will be without their ace
setter, Daisuke Usami.
The experienced 26-year-old Usami
twisted his left ankle in training on
Thursday and may be out for up to two
months, depending on the extent of the
Taiji Yamamoto, also 26, takes over
under the net. He is the only other
setter on Japan's preliminary 18-man
roster and plays for Japan's champion
club, Toray Arrows.
Venezuela have a player who knows all
about Yamamoto and the rest of the
That man is team captain Ernardo Gomez,
who goes by the nickname of "Harry" and
plays his club Volleyball for Toyoda
Gosei (Chemical) in Japan.
"His knowledge of the Japanese players
will be helpful to us, but we have
studied the whole team of Japan in their
previous matches. I know they are going
to be two even games," said coach Ramos.
Japan and Venezuela's first match of two
is on Saturday at 06:00 GMT.