Bangkok, Thailand, April 8, 2014 – Nakhon Pathom is getting ready to host the “17th Princess Cup” Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship, which will also determine the fifth qualifying team for the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship in May.
Four teams have already qualified for the World Championship in Zurich: 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League winners Dinamo Kazan, host club Volero Zurich, wild card Molico Osasco of Brazil and South American Club champions SESI-SP of Brazil.
The Asian representative will be decided at the 2014 Asian Women's Club Championship, while the remaining team to complete the line-up of clubs taking part in the World Championship will be a wild-card entry jointly decided by the FIVB and the organisers.
As for the Asian Club event, which will be held between April 17 to 25 at the Nakhon Pathom Municipal Gymnasium, Turkmenistan have pulled out of Pool A, leaving only 10 teams to vie for the top honour and the prestigious trophy of HRH Royal Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
The participating teams have been split into Pool A and Pool B for the round-robin preliminaries. Pool A consists of 2002 champions, Hisamitsu Springs of Japan, Iran’s Martin Varamin, Vietnam’s VTV Cup champions Thong Tin Lienvietpostbank and hosts Nakhonratchasima.
Pool B comprises India’s KSEB, Kazakhstan’s Zhetyssu, Singapore’s VAS, the Philippines’ PLDT, Taipei of Chinese Taipei and former four-time winners Bohai Bank Tianjin of China.
The opening day, April 17, will see India’s KSEB face the Philippines’ PLDT at 11.30am, followed by matches between Taipei and VAS at 2pm, Nakhonratchasima against Martin Varamin at 4pm and Kazakhstan’s Zhetyssu and Bohai Bank Tianjin at 6pm. Two domestic TV broadcasters, Channel 7 and SMM TV, will televise the Thai match live.
A press conference took place on April 8 at the Alexander Hotel in Bangkok. Somporn Chaibangyang, President of the Thailand Volleyball Association, and Shanrit Wongprasert, Vice President of the Asian Volleyball Confederation, jointly chaired the meeting. Lt. Col. Sinthop Kaewpijit, President of the Nakhon Pathom Sports Association, was among the guests of honour.
“We (Nakhon Pathom) are ready to host the Asian Women’s Club meet,” Sinthop declared. “We hosted this tournament for the first time in 2009 and Thailand’s Federbrau made history by capturing the title for the first time there. We also used to host the World Grand Prix preliminaries Group B in 2011 so I don’t think we will have any problems hosting the Asian Club meet this time.”
Despite the presence of formidable teams in the Asian Club tournament, hosts Nakhonratchasima will be setting their sights on finishing in the top four. Commenting on his team’s chances in the annual tournament, Nakhonratchasima coach Suthichai Chanbunchee admitted that his team hasn’t been able to train enough.
“Due to our commitment in the on-going Thailand League, our training in preparation for the Asian Club meet hasn’t started,” Suthichai said. “I think my team are not ready for this tough competition. However, I hope we can start training seriously with a full team in the following days ahead of our departure to Nakhon Pathom on April 14. We won't underestimate any team. We will do our best and play carefully in every match. Although a daunting challenge awaits us, our target remains unchanged: a top-four finish.”
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