The women national Brazilian team will have a difficult mission in 2007. The team, commanded by Jose Roberto Guimarães, will try to continue in the top of the Grand Prix rank. Brazil is the major conqueror of this competition, with six wins (94, 96, 98, 2004, 2005 and 2006).
Moreover, the Brazilian team will have to overcome great adversaries in this edition of the Grand Prix. In the first week, between August 3 and 5, Brazil will be in group B, playing against Italy, Holland and China Taipei, in Verona ( Italy). After that, between 10 and 12 of the same month, the team will go to Tokyo, in Japan, where it will play in group D, against the Japanese team, Holland and China Taipei, one more time. In the last week of the preliminary phase (at 17, 18 and 19 of august), the Brazilians will go to Taiwan (China Taipei), playing, in the group H, against Dominican Republic, Italy and China Taipei.
In order to have a great year, Jose Roberto Guimarães will prepare a special training for the Grand Prix. "We will start to train in May. The Pan-American Games will be an important competition for our team. Beyond playing in our country, we will use this championship to start the Grand Prix with all of our potential", says José Roberto, remembering that the Pan-American Games, will be disputed in Rio de Janeiro, between July 19 and 27.
The Brazilian coach remembers that the Olympic Games, in Pequin 2008, will improve the quality of the Grand Prix 2007. "This Grand Prix will be very difficult. Each year this competition has better teams. And this year will not be different. This Grand Prix will be the first preliminary for the Olympic Games and all teams will be more interested in winning this competition. Besides that, all coaches are worried about in play kepping the same players until Pequim", says José Roberto.
For Grand Prix 2007, José Roberto points out three great adversaries. "China will play at home, and it will improve their team. Another strong candidate to win this Grand Prix is the squad of Russia, who won the World Cup. Cuba will also have a great team, since that none of players are playing outside of the country", explain the Brazilian coach.
He remembers that the finals in China will be an attractive for the Grand Prix 2007. "Playing in China, one year before the Olympic Games, will be very important for our team. We will be able to know more about the country", completes the Brazilian coach.
José Roberto is the coach of Brazilian squad since 2003. It has been a total of 16 competitions, winning 13 gold medals, two silvers, and one fourth place in the Olympic Games, in Athens/2004.
José Roberto Guimarães, 52 years old, was Born in Quintana, a city 500Km away from São Paulo. His career as a player started in 1967 playing for Randi Esporte in Santo André. This team changed its name for Aramaçan and after for Pirelli where Zé Roberto played as a setter from 1979 to 1982.
"Maybe that was the reason why I became a coach. The setter is that player that keeps contact with all the team. It is easier for him to get used to the attack style of other players what gives him a better vision of the game and creates a closer relationship between the setter and the coach", explained Zé Roberto.
In 1988, José Roberto started his career as a coach training Eletropaulo women's team. In the following three years, he worked for Pão de Açúcar. Meanwhile, (1989/1990) he was the assistant coach of Mr. Bebeto de Freitas, who was the head coach of the Men's Brazilian National team. In 1991, he started to coach the Youth and Junior categories, winning the silver medal in the Women's World Championship, in both categories. In the next year, he achieved the most important title of his career: the gold medal in the Olympic Games of Barcelona. After that, he kept on winning medals: first place in the Top Four (Japan/1991); first place in the World League(Brasil/1993) and first place in the South American Championship (1993); bronze medal in the World League (1994), 5th place in the World Championship (Greece/1994); silver medal in the World League (1995), gold in the South American Championship (1995), bronze in the World Cup (Japan/1995); third place in the World League (1996), and 5th in the Olympic Games of Atlanta (1996).
After finishing his cycle in the National team, Zé Roberto started to coach Banespa men's team where he won the gold medal in Superliga 96/97. After that he commanded Dayvit, a women's team, ending the Superliga in 5th place. In the following season, he left the courts and worked as a volleyball and soccer manager.
José Roberto came back to volleyball in 2001, to coach CN/Osasco, where he finished Superliga 2001/2002 in second place. Last season, the head coach led the team to an excellent performance in the national tournament. "We won the gold medal in Superliga. Our team lost only five matches among the 68 we played. Not too bad", said the coach.
Since August 2003, José Roberto is the head coach of the Women National Brazilian team. He had great results, winning 13 gold medals in 16 competitions.