Orlando Samuels


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Gladston Orlando Samuels Blackwood, the newly appointed coach from Cuba of the Portuguese menís national team has already recorded some success from his first outing in the role, seeing his team complete a 2006 World Championship second round tournament unbeaten with three wins from three matches in May.

A good start and one of many steps for Samuels, who succeeded fellow national Juan Diaz who is now working in Qatar, after admitting his main objectives in 2005 are to see Portugal succeed in the Senior European Championship, the 2006 World Championships as well as the World League.

"I know that Portuguese Volleyball is nowadays much stronger than I experienced at the 2002 World Championships in Argentina", revealed Samuels when he first arrived in Portugal in February. "I know that they are an ambitious young team and I will try to do my best this year in order to perform well at the European Championship Finals, the early rounds of the 2006 World Championships as well as the World League."

Samuels was coach of the Cuban menís team from 1985 to 1994, taking them to victory at the World Cup in 1989 and the Pan-American Games, as well as becoming two-time vice world champion. And Portugal is not new to the 58-year-old given that he worked with the national menís junior team in the season of 1997/98.

The new Portugal coach has a big task ahead of him however, with a young side still blossoming, he needs to reverse the results of previous years which has seen Portugal finish last in every World League competition they have entered from 1999-2004.