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Waiting for World League debut Slovakia prepares for home World Champs qualifier

Slovak Volleyball Federation President Lubor Halanda (right) together with the head coach of Slovakia men’s national team, Italian-born Flavio Gulinelli

Bratislava, Slovakia, December 4, 2013 - The President of the Slovak Volleyball Federation Lubor Halanda and the head coach of the men’s national team, Flavio Gulinelli, are very pleased with the fact that Slovakia will make their debut in next year’s FIVB World League. Slovakia is a two-time winner of the CEV Volleyball European League (in 2008 and 2011) and recorded their best result at the European Champs back in 2011 finishing in fifth place as the competition was held in Austria and the Czech Republic.

“We are very happy that we will be playing the FIVB World League for the first time. This is a very important moment for us and also a unique opportunity to play some of the strongest teams in the world” says Halanda who last Saturday was re-elected at the helm of the Slovak Volleyball Federation for another four years.

Italian-born head coach Flavio Gulinelli was also pleased with the news from Lausanne: “It is a very important moment for us and I hope that our players will be very motivated as we move up to the next level next year” he says. Gulinelli already has previous experiences in the competition working with the national teams of Italy, Brazil, and Portugal.

Slovakia was assigned to Pool G together with Puerto Rico, China, and Spain. “Puerto Rico is just about renovating the composition of their team but they are still very strong. China plays a totally different kind of Volleyball than most European sides with a strong defence and as for Spain, we know them very well and we also know that they can play at a very high level” adds Gulinelli whose assistant will be a former member of the Slovak national team, setter Marek Kardos, who currently mentors AZS CZESTOCHOWA in Poland’s first division.

Gulinelli will first work with the Slovak players to prepare for the third and last qualification round for next year’s World Championship with Slovakia set to play Ukraine, Greece, and Finland through January 3-5 in Poprad. “Slovakia has been dreaming to make the World Championship for quite some time. We know it is not going to be easy for we have to play strong opponents but we will do our best” promises the 55-year old mentor who hails from the city of Asti. The team will start their preparations on December 20 and play two friendly games with the Czech Republic before the home qualifier in Poprad.


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