Coaches ready for Women’s World Grand Champions Cup challenge
Nagoya, Japan, November 11, 2013 - The coaches of the six teams participating in the FIVB Women's Grand Champions Cup from November 12 to 17 had their game faces on when they met the media on Monday.
Even though it is the final event of the year, it was apparent that each coach saw the value of participating in and trying to win the prestigious tournament, which gets under way at Nippon Gaishi Hall on Tuesday afternoon.
Brazil, the defending Olympic champion enters as the favorite and is seeking to become the first nation to claim the title at the event held once every four years for a second time.
The competition, which is being staged in Nagoya and Tokyo, will be televised to 127 countries around the world.
Brazil, Russia, the United States and Thailand have qualified as continental champions.
Japan is automatically in as the host nation, and the Dominican Republic is in on a wild card as the continental vice champions with the best Olympic ranking.
Each team will play five games.
"We always seem to play against the United States in our opening game in these events," said Brazil coach Jose Guimaraes. "They are a very tough rival with the system they play."
Brazil, which beat the US for gold at the London Games, also won the World Grand Prix Finals in Sapporo, Japan, this summer. They did it in impressive fashion, winning the five match all in straight sets.
American coach Karch Kiraly, one of the most famous players in the history of his country, acknowledged that getting past Brazil in the opener will be no easy task.
"Brazil is one of the best teams in the world. It will be our second time to play them this year," he noted. "They play a strong style of volleyball that is very disciplined. They make very few errors, which is the way we aspire to play."
Kiraly said the US, which finished sixth in Sapporo, is aiming higher here against the South Americans.
"They played well in the Grand Prix Finals. We are hoping to improve on our result there."
European champion Russia will take on host nation Japan in its opening match and assistant coach Igor Kurnosov says his side is depleted but up for the challenge.
"Our team is prepared to play against Japan and expects to give its best," he stated. "We only have 10 players, but are happy to be here."
Kurnosov said Japan ace Saori Kimura will present a formidable obstacle.
"Of course we have be ready to go against Kimura, but Japan has many other good players as well."
Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe, who led the squad to the bronze medal at the London Games, knows it will be no easy start for the home team.
"We are playing the European champions in our opener. Their players have high jumping and spiking ability."
Manabe believes that Japan must not get away from its game plan against Russia and the other nations participating.
"We will adjust to the other countries, but we want to retain our style of play."
Dominican Republic coach Marcos Kwiek said his charges, who will start play against Thailand on Tuesday, are enthusiastic about the tournament.
"We are very happy to be here. The team is mentally and physically ready."
Kwiek said it won't be easy going against such powerful opponents.
"The competition will be tough. We will play all the games as if it were the final."
Thai coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai recognised that his players would benefit from the experience of playing in the World Grand Champions Cup.
"We are playing against some of the best teams and coaches in the world here. We will be able to learn a lot from this."