Coaches expect tight competition at Men's U21 World Championship
Izmir, Turkey, August 21, 2013 – In the lead up to the first day of matches in Izmir for the Men’s U21 World
Championship, the coaches of the teams in pools C and D reflect
on how far their players have come.
Brazil coach, Leonardo Carvalho: "Our expectations here are very high like any team from Brazil in the World Championships. We had a long run preparation for two years as we played more than 60 friendly matches throughout those 24 months. We have concentrated preparation in the last four months to reach our best physical, technical, mental and psychological conditions ahead of the competition. We know well that the way to the title is very hard, so we decided to play each match as decisively as possible with our full power. We had in this team seven players who continued from the youth team who played in the World championship two years ago in Argentina although we came ninth that time. Our objective is to win the gold but at least now we have to think about the quarterfinals.”
Canada coach, David Preston: "We are working hard because some of my players will be experiencing their first international championship. We have been training since June. We had a chance to play friendly matches against Mexico and Russia, but that is not enough to gain experience. Some of my players didn't play at such a high level till now, and I want to learn a lot about them in order to help them continue their national careers.
Pool C looks very balanced. The only team I don't have information about is Rwanda but I know that they are really excited to be here. I’m sure Izmir will see great volleyball during the championship.”
France coach, Stephan Faure: "The main problem for our team is that we were very late preparing for the championship because of the financial problems of our federation, but nevertheless we have good players who can perform well. Our objectives now are to qualify for the second round (Round of 16) and then we have to re think the knock out stage. We played friendly matches against China only in our preparation programme, but to we have to start fighting from the first match to achieve our goals.”
Italy coach, Marco Bonitta: "We are coming here to play our best and finish at the best possible position. We have had intensive preparations for two months now during which time we played Brazil twice on their home ground. We were drawn in a very tough pool with Russia, Brazil, France and Venezuela and our objectives are to compete for the first position in the pool. We will depend here on the team work of our players not on certain stars.”
Russia coach, Mikhail Nikolaev: "I took over as coach of the Russia team on July 21 replacing Andre Tolochko after his health problems. We need to prove our consistency as the best performing team in this age category and win at least a medal. But the gold is still a big objective for all Russian teams, especially since we need to follow the footsteps of the youth team who just won the U19 World Championship in Mexico early last month."
Rwanda coach, Paul Bitok: "We started real preparations on June 26 following several camps throughout the season. After we clinched the bronze medal at the African Nations Championship in Tunisia the Rwandan federation started to put everything in order for us to be represented well at the elite level. We were the first team to arrive in Turkey for this competition on August 7 giving us enough time to acclimatise to the weather and all the conditions here. We played a lot of matches with the Rwandan senior team as well as some clubs there. We hope to represent Rwanda in the best way in our first ever qualification for the finals.”
Serbia coach, Sinisa Reljic: "We started preparations since June as we trained in Slovenia for two weeks. We played in the Balkan Championship and won the tournament against Turkey in the final. After that championship we went back to Serbia and played four games against Russia. We had a productive time for preparation.
We are the world champions in the youth category and we have good players. Our players are experienced both at both at the local and international levels. All my team play in the super league in Serbia and our objective is to qualify for the semi-finals. It's important to finish the pool stage in first position. The teams are very tough here. USA, Canada and Russia are really good and well organised teams. However I believe we have more quality. We have the ability to win the games in our group.”
Tunisia coach, Munir Gara: "We are seeking a good start in order to gain confidence and this time we are looking forward to play Canada to gain momentum towards a good position in Pool C. Our preparation was quite good as we played in a friendly tournament in Kelibia (Tunisia), which featured Russia, Argentina, and India in addition to the three age category Tunisian teams U19, 21 and 23 where we qualified for the final against heavy favourites for the world championship title, Russia. We also played three matches against Estonia where we won them all. The Tunisian team arrived in Izmir on August 14, where we had another chance to prepare with some Turkish club friendlies. Our main objective here is to secure a second round ticket, but we need to win more matches.”
USA coach, Peter Hanson: "Our objective is to be on the medal podium at the end of the competition, something not achieved in US history in this age category. We had a difficult time during our preparation having less than three weeks to prepare for this competition due to the tight schedule of the local competitions as well as the cancelation of a friendly tour in Costa Rica. However, we had a local training camp where we prepared well for that event. We had new players after the last generation finished in fourth position two years ago in Brazil, so we need to improve here. We are happy to be here among the top teams from all over the world, but any how we need to be on the podium this time."
Venezuela coach Roberto Garcia: "Our pool D is very strong as I know it is very difficult to combat world level teams like Brazil, Russia, Italy and France. We had conducted local preparation in Venezuela six months ago but we haven’t had enough friendly matches. Our main goal here is to play high level volleyball and I think we are able to do that."
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