Coaches see Women’s Club World Championship as perfect platform for high-level volleyball
Zurich, Switzerland, October 8, 2013 – The seventh edition of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship is set to start on Wednesday with one club from each Confederation as well as host club Volero Zurich battling for the prestigious title. The coaches are looking forward to an high-class competition, gathering six of the world’s best club teams from October 9 to 13.
South American champions Unilever Volei of Brazil will have the honour of playing the opening match of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship against USA’s Iowa Ice in the Zurich Saalsporthalle on October 9. The opening Pool B match will take place at 17:30 (local time), followed by Asian champions Guangdong Evergrande of China against Africa title winners Kenya Prisons in Pool A at 20:30.
Brazil has been represented on the winner’s podium three times, including Sollys Nestle last year, while Azerbaijan, Turkey and Italy have all had clubs step on the top podium once. Unilever Volei finished first at the South American Women's Club Championship in Lima to secure their place in the World Championship. They defeated Peruvian side Universidad Cesar Vallejo 3-0 to lift the title and book their ticket to Zurich.
Unilever Volei coach Bernardo Rezende: “It is a big honor for us to play on such a high level tournament. My team is a good mix of young and experienced players. Our youngest player is Gabriela Guimaraes, a promising talent who has recently joined our national team. With setter Fafão and libero Fabi we also have two very experienced players in our roster. The team cohesion will probably not be perfect at the start of the tournament as the preparation phase was very short. However, I’m sure the fans will see very attractive volleyball here in Zurich.”
Guangdong Evergrande underlined their supremacy at the 14th Asian Women’s Club Championship with a 3-1 (25-18, 25-17, 23-25, 25-16) victory over Zhetyssu of Kazakhstan in Dac Lac, Vietnam to book their ticket for Zurich. It was Evergrande’s first Asian title.
Guangdong Evergrande coach Lang Ping: “Many of my players just came back from national team activities. We met here in Zurich. Yet I don’t have much information about our opponents. For sure the competition will be very challenging. Club volleyball grows in China. More and more foreign players are joining our league.”
Vakifbank Istanbul qualified for the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship by winning the Women’s CEV Volleyball Champions League in March with a perfect 12-0 record, while Kenya Prisons captured their fourth straight African title on April 12 with a five-set win over GS Petroliers of Algeria. In a short span of seven years, Kenya Prisons quickly emerged as one of the strongest teams in Africa and are now entering their fourth consecutive stint at the annual FIVB Women’s Club World Championship.
VakifBank Istanbul coach Giovanni Guidetti: “It will be a very exciting competition here in Zurich. Some of the teams are very strong. My team for example includes the best Turkish and some of the best European players. We did not have a many changes in our roster since last year. Carolina Costagrande replaced Malgorzata Glinka. I believe in our strength and power. I guess Unilever and Evergrande have good chances to finish on the podium.”
Kenya Prisons coach David Lungah Mutsami: “We only had three weeks for preparation. It will be a tough challenge for us. We hope for a big surprise this year as we worked very hard to become better. Kenia is a promising volleyball country with huge media interest. I am sure African volleyball is improving rapidly.”
From the time they captured the United States’ 2nd Annual Women’s Premier Volleyball League title, Iowa Ice bid farewell to anonymity and created a new chapter in their club history as they represent NORCECA at the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship in Zurich.
Iowa Ice coach Janelle Hester: “It is the first time we are playing in this team composition. We are working hard to quickly build a strong team chemistry. Club volleyball in the USA has not the same importance as in other countries. Nevertheless, I am sure that the Women’s Premier Volleyball League is a strong platform for US club teams. My team will play very hard, doing their best to challenge our opponents.”
Host Volero Zürich will try to fulfil a noble task of contending for honours in front of their home fans. The club leaps on a new orientation to re-position itself among the top European clubs that is now beginning to take shape. The eight-time Swiss champion and cup winner will count on 37-year-old Croatian player Natasa Osmokrovic, who was part of Turkish club Fenerbahce that won the Club World Championship in 2010.
Volero Zürich will also reckon on the experience of Serbian middle blocker Mira Golubovic and Japanese libero Yuko Sano who were tapped to reinforce Volero Zürich’s defence. With good experience on their side, Volero Zürich leave a promising mark to challenge the world’s premier clubs.
Volero Zurich coach Jan De Brandt: “Our goal is to go as far as possible in front of our home crowd. It is a big chance for my team to play at such a high-level competition. We will play with heart and passion. Since the European Championship in Germany and Switzerland, the Swiss fans start to love international competitions. We hope they will support us as they did for the national team three weeks ago.”
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