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NEWS

Guidetti ready to guide Dutch

 
Giovanni Guidetti will lead the Netherlands as they focus on a spot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
 
Lausanne, Switzerland, February 5, 2015 – Giovanni Guidetti had achieved much as coach of the Germany women’s team before leaving his post in January this year. But the Italian has now embarked on a new journey, taking the helm of the Netherlands women’s side just a few months before the start of the new international season.

So why did the 42-year-old leave an environment he had spent eight years creating to head a new setup just one year out from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games? It all came down to a simple phone call.

“The Dutch federation were looking for a coach as soon as possible. They rang me and said they wanted me,” Guidetti explains. “They were extremely motivated and excited and now I’m very excited to start coaching them.”

Guidetti

In his previous role, Guidetti led Germany to back-to-back European Championship finals in 2011 and 2013. Despite falling at the last hurdle on both occasions, the silver medals they took home were a reflection of the attitude he brought to the side. Add to that a bronze medal from the 2009 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix as well as gold and silver in the 2013 and 2014 European League respectively and it is clear that the match between coach and team was originally a good one. 

But his decision to step aside comes a few months after Germany finished ninth at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014. After a poor first round he admitted at the time that the team needed “a miracle in the second round.” Losses to Japan and China all but sealed their fate, but straight set wins against Belgium and Azerbaijan saw him end on a high and with fighting spirit, something he is hoping to bring to his new role.

“I want for [the Netherlands] to find the courage to win,” he emphasised. “They all have the cause to win, they just need to believe in themselves. They are such an amazing group of players and they are all at good clubs around Europe.

“The goal is to develop and improve the team. The good thing is there are a lot of technically talented players. We’re keen to make the next big step, especially with the younger players also.”

Guidetti

The Netherlands finished 11th at the same tournament and with former coach Gido Vermuelen now heading up the men’s programme, it left a spot to fill.

The team’s first challenge will be to navigate Group 2 of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix 2015. They were beaten in last year’s Group 2 final by rivals Belgium, missing out on qualification to the top table of the tournament this year, and will be eager to correct that.

They then welcome some of the continent’s best players to their shores for the European Championship, which they are joint-hosting with Belgium. This offers a first chance at qualification for Rio 2016 and home advantage will only add to the Italian’s strategy.

“I had a similar experience with Germany at the 2013 European Championships and we have to repeat that experience for the Netherlands. 

“We took a lot of advantage with the crowd, they were the number eight player. We can rely on six, seven or 8,000 fans in the hall and that is a big plus. But the players need to deal with that pressure well. I’ve played in Holland several times so I know what the fans can do.”

Guidetti

His familiarity with Dutch volleyball almost certainly starts with Dutch captain Robin de Kruijf, who he coaches at Turkish Club Vakifbank Spor Kulübü in Istanbul. The 23-year-old has been selected for her country over 200 times since making her debut at the Montreux Volley Masters in 2008 and has also featured in every one of Istanbul’s CEV Champions League matches this year. But Guidetti is keen for her to focus on her game and not worry about his integration with the team too much.

“I didn’t want to put her under any more pressure,” he said on making his decision. “She’s done a very good job for the Netherlands and the club.

“We will talk about it when the time is right, I’m sure she’ll help me but it’s not a new team for me as I know many of the players already.”

But for now, his focus – and de Kruijf’s – will remain with Vakifbank Spor Kulübü, with a crucial Champions League playoff match with Dynamo Kazan on February 10. The two teams met in the final of last year’s tournament, with Guidetti’s outfit coming off second best in straight sets and missing out on a berth to the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship 2014. He is only too aware of the danger they pose.

“We have the worst team possible in the next round with Dynamo Kazan,” he said. “We were finalists last year so obviously we are looking for revenge. But we are both different teams. It will be a great challenge for us.”

And as for Germany? Guidetti admits it was a tough choice to leave, but he does so with the full knowledge that a new experience could reignite the team.

Guidetti

“It was a decision that hurt a lot,” he revealed. “It was eight years with them. We didn’t only win medals but built amazingly strong relationships.

“However, in the end I left because they needed a new coach. I love them, and that is why I left, so they can learn under a new coach. It was too much time with the same players so the change will give them a good advantage.”

Not too much of an advantage, however, if the two teams meet later this year.





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