Italy - Marco
After an inaugural World
Championship title last year in Germany, Italian
women's volleyball coach Marco Bonitta is eager to
taste more success in a new four-year plan.
month the 39-year-old Bonitta turned down a mountain
of overseas offers to sign a four-year extension to
his two-year Italian coaching contract and after
leading the Italian women's team to their best
international performance last September he is already
looking to make further space in the trophy cabinet.
"After winning the World Championship I want the
European title and a Olympic medal now," he said.
"The main objective at the moment is a European
Championship title before aiming for the Olympics.
"The World Grand Prix is an ideal stepping stone
in the whole process but the main objective is
conquering Europe. In order to do that we have to face
our old rivals Russia, who up until now have always
been our bogey team but now is the time to change that
trend. "We go into the Grand Prix to take a medal
but it will serve us well in preparation for
continental championship. "We also have the
Olympics in mind. All the girls have started a
personalized program in order to be in the best
possible shape come August 2004. I do not speak about
gold at the moment but if we arrive at Athens in the
same condition as we did at the World Championship we
will definitely be on track."
Playing as defending World Champions is a new-found
burden for Italy and with tournaments such as the
World Grand Prix (July 18 - August 10), the European
Championship in Turkey (September 20-28) and the World
Cup in Japan (November 1-15), Bonitta knows it won't
be an easy time having the title of World Championship
champions associated with his team, "but I have
already the remedy. We will have to forget all the
sacrifices we have to complete in order to win. The
trouble is thinking that things will happen by
themselves or to justify an eventual defeat thinking
that, after all, we are champions of the world. The
difference at the top is minimal and if rendering the
title is already on the mind it is time to come down
from the altar ".
Part of Bonitta's plan to help him achieve European
and Olympic glory is to possibly call up of Cuban
opposite Taimarys Aguero to his national side saying
"she is the only player who is capable of adding
anything to our squad at the moment". The
26-year-old has been playing for the Italian league
side Despar Perugia since 1998 and having last played
for Cuba in 2001, she is now seeking Italian
Another aim of Bonitta's is to improve Italy's world
ranking where they currently sit sixth. "They
will be four important years in which we are obligated
to start a new cycle.
"When finishing this term I hope to leave the
team in the top three of the world rankings".