FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

'Good games, that’s all I can promise,' says Samuells

Samuells, Stankovic and Kolakovic show that their rivalry is confined to the volleyball court

Havana, Cuba, June 6, 2013 – Serbia will make its 2013 FIVB World League debut Friday with a match against hosts Cuba at the Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum – headquarters of the Cuban team – in Havana, a city well known to volleyball fans.

Experts forecast an intense duel between the reigning European Champions, Serbia, and a renewed Cuban squad, supported by one of the most loyal and intense fans in the world of volleyball. Serbia seems to be a stronger and more experienced team and although the absence of top players in Cuba’s line-up weakens the host squad’s possibilities, the visitors know not to take anything for granted.

Rafael Lloreda, supervisor of this weekend’s matches, highlighted the coverage  provided by Cuban media as a cornerstone for the success and impact of the World League 2013 in Cuba.

Serbia’s captain Dragan Stankovic said, "I always enjoy playing in Havana. Our expectations are always huge. We know the Cuban team has changed, but we respect them. They are young, talented and the Cuban fans are very passionate. Our goal is reach the final stage in Argentina. Every game is important. It’s my third time playing in Cuba, and the crowd at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum is very intense, very challenging. We aim for at least one victory, but I know both matches will be very interesting."

Serbia coach Igor Kolakovic said, "Havana is special, people here live volleyball with so much passion, and the atmosphere is great. The road to Argentina will be tough, but we’ll take it step by step. We have trained very hard, and the matches against Cuba will be a test for us."

Orlando Samuells, Cuba’s coach said, "Our team suffers a deep and unexpected renovation in a very narrow span of time. We’re in the middle of a transition to allow us to be competitive once again. So, our purposes are different to the ones of previous leagues. Maybe we won’t make it to the final stage, but we’ll fight every night. We won’t let our crowd down. Maybe we’re not as strong as we used to be, but our team is young and gifted. We tried some different line-ups in previous matches against Argentina, and so far I’ll use Rolando Cepeda in the auxiliary role. As the League goes on, I believe Cuba’s timing will improve. Good games, that’s all I can promise."

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