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Cuban Sanchez confident about his team’s chances

Coaches of the teams competing at NORCECA Men's Pool P from left to right: José Alvarez Cutiño (Dominican Republic), Jerry Slijngard (Suriname), Ludger Niles (Barbados) and Rodolfo Sanchez (Cuba)
Havana, Cuba, May 20, 2014 – The coaches of Cuba and Dominican Republic are optimistic as their men’s sides are set to battle for the ticket to the FIVB World Championship in Poland while those at the helm of Suriname and Barbados teams will compete in NORCECA Pool P Tournament trying to gain the much needed experience.

Rodolfo Sanchez, coach of the home team , did not hesitate to say that "the goal is to win and automatically get the berth, but always respecting each opponent, as they come with the same goal of winning every day. Our team is young, but with better physical and technical-tactical than before." 

For the competition that opens on Wednesday at Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum, Sánchez is confident of his team, led by opposite lefty Rolando Cepeda and middle blocker Isbel Mesa, the only with world championship experience. 

Meanwhile, another Cuban José Álvarez Cutiño, debuts as coach of Dominican Republic, after taking the job just three weeks ago.

“We set our goal of qualifying here,” Alvarez Cutiño said. “We know that facing the home team won’t be easy, but we are confident about fulfilling our purpose.”

Cutiño , former setter of the Cuban National Team in the '90s, depends on a team with experienced players.

"We have experienced like Elvis Contreras and José Miguel Cáceres, who accumulate more than a hundred international matches each, outside hitter Germán Recio, setter Francisco Abreu and middle blocker Wilfrido Hernandez, who all play in foreign leagues," he said.

Ludger Niles, coach of Barbados, considered Cuba as the team to beat while setting the goal of advancing to the next round of playoffs.

“It is the first time ever for us reaching the third round and we intend to finish second here and then battle for the ticket in the next qualifier of NORCECA,” Niles said.

"The opposite Shawn Simpson, 30 years old, and outside hitter Fabian Cox, 34, are our more established players with a decade with the team, the others are new faces," he said .

Meanwhile, Suriname’s Jerry Slijngard said "it is the first time we got to the third round of world championship qualification phase, so we hope to have a good tournament and not finish in last place. We are very happy to be here in Cuba, a beautiful country.”


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