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Virna predicts another great year for Olympic champs Brazil

The likes of Sheilla (left) and Fabiana (centre) could be rested this year according to Virna
Lausanne, Switzerland, April 18, 2013 - The year 2012 was a particularly excellent one for the Brazilian national women’s team, as they took home gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games. But can the Brazilian team continue their domination of the sport – especially at this year’s World Grand Prix? FIVB.org asked former national team player, Virna Dias for her thoughts.

"Brazil’s Olympic gold at the women’s volleyball competition in London 2012 was a highly satisfying end to the players’ many years of hard work. And after such a feat it is normal for everyone to ask, ‘So where to now for the Brazilian women’s team?’

“I know from experience that the period just after such a big win is often more of a rollercoaster ride than the lead up to the event, as you suddenly find yourself looking for new goals to reach.

“The Brazilian women’s team is now in state of transition and coach Zé Roberto will no doubt be looking to give Sheila, Jacqueline and Fabiana a bit of a rest after five years of rigorous training. 

“But the choice of the new team is now crucial if Brazil wants to continue its standing in the World Grand Prix table. The competition is set to get more intense as more countries enter the World Grand Prix this year, which is why our coach needs to have the courage and audacity to make choices that will be best for the team.

“One thing is for sure, there is now the opportunity to bring in some of Brazil’s up and coming players like Gabi, who at 18 has a bright future ahead of her. The trend after an Olympic cycle is to change only parts of the team but I do believe that Zé Roberto should invest in a new group of young players for this season’s Grand Prix with an eye on the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

“We also have Natalia and Priscilla Daroit who both have a good chance of making the selection. Having already demonstrated a high level of skill, I see no difficulty in these young players making the leap into the senior team.

“I was pleased to see that Zé Roberto has been reappointed coach of the national team and I am sure he will make all the right decisions to ensure that we continue to stand out among our competitors. 

“Words cannot describe my admiration for this man who has taken the Brazilian team to a triple Olympic win and his technical team of Paulinho Cocco and Zé Elias, who have accompanied him for years. But Zé Roberto’s greatest asset is that he is very sensitive and knows how to manage a team of 12 women! Under his leadership we have a good chance of winning this year’s Grand Prix as well as next year’s World Championship.

“Campinas, my home town, will host a stop on this year’s Grand Prix and I am looking forward to crossing paths with some of my former on-court companions. While I believe the increase in the number of participating teams favours the European countries, it is still a positive step in the right direction because it gives more countries the chance to participate at the international level.

“I can feel that this is going to be a good year for the Brazilian women’s team and I wish them all the best with their training in the months ahead.”

Virna Dias is a former Brazilian national team player and three-time Olympian. She won bronze at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Games and finished fourth at the 2004 Athens Games. Virna also won the 2004 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix and clinched silver in 1999, where she also claimed the MVP, Best Receiver and Best Scorer awards. She was also a FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Cup silver medallist in 2003.

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