Havana, Cuba, June 3, 2010 - Cuba coach Orlando Samuels told a packed press conference on Thursday ahead of his side’s opening 2010 FIVB World League clash against Argentina in Havana that he expects his young side to claim Cuba’s ninth World League medal in this the 21st edition of the premier annual event for men.
Cuba have won a gold, five silver and two bronze medals in their 18 editions of the World League and after finishing a credible fourth last year, Samuels is expecting improvement from his young charges as his looks ahead to the opening clash in the Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum.
“The boys are in good shape despite not having as many warm up games as we wanted,” Samuels said. “Nonetheless, we hope to improve our last year performance since our team is more mature now.
“Argentina is one of the strongest teams we will face in this intercontinental round, and technically they are one of the best, so we will have to keep that in mind in order to win”.
Both Samuels and Argentinean coach Javier Weber agreed at the press conference that their teams will provide exciting games in their first appearance this year on Pool D, which also contains Germany and Poland.
For the first two matches, Argentina are missing two key players: Facundo Conte, injured, and Rodrigo Quiroga, who is still resting after returning from his professional league.
Other excerpts from the press conference:
Weber: “I expect two very difficult games for our team. We have been training the past four weeks for this moment and the team is in good shape, but Cuba has a lot of potential. So, the games must be very tight all the time.
“All games will be very important. And although we do not have the pressure of the qualifying stage as the site of the final phase, we can not build a winning team in defeat”.
Argentina captain Guillermo Garcia: “The matches will be very tough for both teams. We hope to win both, although is going to be very difficult because Cuba has a young talented team”.
Prior to the press conference, the Klaus Fezer, FIVB supervisor for this weekend’s matches, asked for a minute of silence in memory of Yuri Chesnokov, the former Russian Volleyball star player and administrator who passed away on May 30.