Germany’s national teams join up with UNICEF ahead of World Championships
The ambitious goal was shared by head coach Vital Heynen and setter Lukas Kampa at a press conference held in Berlin, where the German Volleyball Federation (DVV) also disclosed their high-profile partnership with UNICEF.
“We have made the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games and European Championship,” Lukas Kampa said, “and now we want to make it a step further. We have this common dream and this is what we want to achieve.” This would be Germany’s second medal at a Men’s World Championship after the former East Germany won gold back in 1970.
Heynen sounded full of confidence, taking lots of positives from the lead-up to the tournament: “We have improved in our matches with Australia, Poland, and Italy and now we have another two friendly matches with the United States on August 26 and 27 in Dessau and Nordhausen, where we want to get the last boost for our World Championship debut with Brazil.”
Germany will open their World Championship campaign playing Brazil on September 1, and after testing the skills of the triple world champions from South America, the Germans will then take on 2010 silver medalists Cuba, Tunisia, Finland, and Korea.
The team will travel to Katowice on August 29 and everyone is looking forward to the start of the adventure: “I expect a great World Championship, perfectly organised in wonderful stadiums and with lots of enthusiastic fans,” Kampa said. “Anyone who knows the profile of our sport in Poland also acknowledges that there could hardly be a better organiser for a World Championship. The key to success will be down to the side that can show world-class volleyball throughout a long, demanding tournament and that, notwithstanding the inevitable tiredness, will make fewer mistakes. We have been working very hard in order to make sure that we will be the team fulfilling these conditions.”
The way to a medal is tough, since Germany would have to play a total of 13 matches in 20 days to make the podium. The captain of the women’s national team, Margareta Kozuch, was also in attendance to discuss her feelings and expectations ahead of the World Championship which will be taking place in Italy from September 23 through October 12. “If we play our best, then anything can happen,” she said. “We have to be able to mobilise and at the same time preserve our strengths for such a long tournament, so that we can perform with the necessary consistency in all our matches.” Germany will open their campaign against the Dominican Republic in Rome on September 23, before testing the likes of Argentina, Tunisia, hosts Italy and Croatia.
The President of the German Volleyball Federation (DVV), Thomas Krohne, also used the pre-World Champs press conference to unveil a partnership between the men’s and women’s national teams and UNICEF, whose official denomination will be displayed on the back the players’ shirts. Kozuch and Kampa will be the ambassadors of this partnership. Its goal is to to support and help children who suffer from hunger under the umbrella provided by UNICEF. “We are proud of being one of the first partners for UNICEF when it comes to elite sport here in Germany,” Krohne said. “The DVV and our national teams are therefore some kind of fore-runners in this sense. We want to support the work of UNICEF, build up our social responsibility work and help UNICEF in the implementation of their projects.”
His words were echoed by the CEO of UNICEF Germany, Christian Schneider: “Volleyball is an incredibly dynamic sport that mesmerizes plenty of young people. With their involvement and support to UNICEF, Germany’s national teams are showing their willingness to play a major role in terms of social responsibility. The teams will motivate their fans as well as a wider audience to work closely with UNICEF for the good of disadvantaged children.”
“This is a tragedy that we can hardly imagine in our western societies, but one child out of four suffers from hunger and this has a long-lasting impact on their development as human beings. There are plenty of actions that can be undertaken in order to stop this tragedy and they are all well-known,” said Kozuch, who next year will be playing in China. “I am convinced that our shirts will draw a lot of attention and trigger interesting discussions among our fans,” Kampa added. “If this happens, we have already provided a huge boost to the projects and actions being undertaken by UNICEF.”