On Thursday, the General Technical Meeting, jointly presided by Control Committee chairman Yim Hyung-Bin and Thailand Volleyball Association President Somporn Chaibangyang, and the press conference for the Pool K encounters took place at the Golden Tulip Sovereign Hotel in Bangkok, with the head coaches from Brazil, Cuba, Argentina and Thailand sharing comments on their preparation and expectations in the Bangkok round. Following are the four coaches’ comments from Thursday’s press conference.
Horacio Bastit, coach of Argentina: “I’m glad that my team are here. We received a warm welcome from Thailand. To play in the World Grand Prix is a great experience. We will bring lessons we have learned in the World Grand Prix to develop our skill for future use. Actually, we want to win although it’s quite tough. Many teams in this year’s World Grand Prix are very strong, but we don’t want to lose. We have to play hosts Thailand in our first match on Friday. It must be a very difficult match for us, but though our performance shown in the practice session before we arrived in Bangkok was not good, we will try our best.”
Jose Roberto Lages Guimaraes, coach of Brazil: “I’m also glad that my team play here. It’s the final leg which is very important for every team which badly wants to make the cut for the final round in Macau. We also hope to do our best here. Argentina and Thailand are strong. They are getting better and better. As we are now in the third week, it’s too early to predict that Brazil will make it to the Final Round in Macau.”
Juan Gala Rodriguez, coach of Cuba: “It’s great to come back again to Thailand. I would like to thank Thailand for giving us a warm welcome. Pool K here is very tough, but we want to succeed. Two weeks ago, we lost to hosts Thailand in Nakhon Pathom. We hope to improve our fortunes here. We have learned a lot of things. We will try to improve the mistakes we made in that match against Thailand.”
Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai, coach of Thailand: “This is our ninth appearance in the top-flight World Grand Prix. We’ve learned tactics and techniques from the world-class teams we played and I think we have made significant improvement. In the first two weeks, we did a good job, but here in the third week in Pool K, we have a tough draw against the Olympic champions Brazil, the team we lost to in straight sets last week in Kazakhstan. Furthermore, we have to challenge Cuba in a rematch. Two weeks ago, we came from behind to beat them 3-2 in our first match in Nakhon Pathom. We will also take on Argentina, much taller than us with some good blocking abilities.
“It’s a tough mission. Actually, we want to make a clean sweep on home matches, but it’s not easy to beat the indomitable giants like Brazil. So, we have to change our target. Now, we must beat both Cuba and Argentina to keep alive our hopes of making the cut for the final round in Macau. However, both teams are very strong. Our chances of beating them both are 50-50, while it’s just 40 per cent that we can advance to the final round. However, my players always play well on home soil in front of a large crowd of die-hard fans. Anything can happen. What I can do is to tell my players to do their best in every second of the match.”
On Friday, Cuba take on Brazil at 2pm local time at the Keelawes 1 Gymnasium inside the Thai-Japan Youth Welfare Center Stadium in Bangkok, followed by the match between hosts Thailand and Argentina at 4.30pm. Argentina go up against Brazil at 2pm on Saturday, with Cuba playing the hosts at 4.30pm. On Sunday, Argentina face Cuba at 2pm, while Thailand play their last match against Brazil at 4.30pm.