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Russian coach sees crowd, heat wave as stern tests for his team

Cuban and Russian coaches are eager to see their teams perform under pressure

Havana, Cuba, June 19, 2009 - A Havana heat wave and noisy local fans are two things that Russia head coach Daniele Bagnoli worries about ahead of his team's matches against Cuba this weekend in Pool C of 2009 World League.


Bagnoli is eager to see how his players will deal with pressure in the Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum, which produces arguably the most intense atmosphere at this tournament, against a team that started the tournament strong with an unexpected sweep of Bulgaria last weekend.


In the press conference prior the matches, Cuba head coach Orlando Samuells admitted his players need to be better to defeat Russia, the bronze medalist at the Beijing Olympic Games and in at last season's World League.

Excerpts from the press conference follow:

Bagnoli: "I want to see my team playing in these tough conditions, with all the heat and the noise. I know the Cubans prepared better prior this tournament, so facing them will be a golden opportunity to see how realistic it will be to fulfill our goals: to win and move further on. I accepted this job because I believe Russia has the tools to achieve some great things, but we still need better balance between youth and experience."


Samuells: "This Friday I'll open with Henry Bell as setter for Lian Sem Estrada, because my scorer Yoandi Leal isn't 100 percent healthy. The rest of the team is ready, but my opposite striker will be Rolando Cepeda instead of Michael Sánchez. The libero will be Keibel Gutiérrez, because Russia has a dangerous serve and I need the best hands to receive."

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