Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, December 9, 2010 – Mirador coach Marcos Kwiek is optimistic that his team can benefit from having been placed in what he considers a weaker-looking Pool B at the FIVB Women's Club World Championship.
The Brazilian, who also doubles up as coach of the Dominican Republic national team, believes that Mirador are in the less formidable of the two sections, having been drawn to meet Kenya Prisons – their first opponents on 15 December – and then Italian club Bergamo. Pool A comprises Federbrau of Thailand, Fenerbahce of Turkey and Sollys Osasco of Brazil.
"I think our pool's composition favours our chances of qualifying for the second round and we have assembled a good mix of players," Kwiek said on Thursday after the conclusion of the first of two daily training sessions. "We've got a good team and I like our chances."
Mirador will leave on Sunday for the event in Doha, Qatar and Kwiek considers it vital they make a winning start in their opener against Kenya Prisons. "We don't know a lot about the Kenya Prisons team but many of their players took part in the FIVB Women's World Championship so we have some idea about them," Kwiek said. "They will be our first opponents in a crucial match for progress to the semifinals."
Their second game follows 24 hours later, on 16 December, against Bergamo. "Bergamo are a good team but they will be without their setter Eleonora Lo Bianco and any time you lose a player of that calibre, it is a big blow to your chances," added Kwiek, who views Pool A heavyweights Sollys Osasco and Fenerbahce as the two strongest sides in the competition. "When you take a look at their rosters you know they are going to be pretty tough teams and Federbrau is the same team that represented Thailand with good results at the World Championship last month in Japan."
As for Kwiek's own squad, most have been part of the Dominican Republic national teams at senior and junior levels so finding the right chemistry should not be too tough a task for the experienced coach. He has announced his starting side with veteran Milagros Cabral and Bethania de la Cruz as outside hitters, Cindy Rondon as opposite, Annerys Vargas and Candida Arias the middle blockers, setter Karla Echenique and Brenda Castillo as libero.
On his selection, he started with the return of De la Cruz, saying: "Bethania is coming along pretty well and she must be a key factor for us. She was out of action for more than a year due to maternity but now is nearing her top shape and Cindy is moving to opposite after many years as a middle blocker. Arias and Castillo both are part of the junior national team as too are Yennifer Ramirez, Marisol Concepcion and Ana Yorkira Binet, so the competition will be useful for all of them."