Argentina will play in Group 1 in the World League
Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 4, 2016 – In his first week back in Argentina, Julio Velasco, the coach of the Argentina men’s team, has been busy as he prepares for the FIVB World League and the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
He started out working with players at the Cenard training centre. The group included senior players, under-23 players and others invited to make up the numbers while they wait for players to complete their club activities.
Velasco’s priorities will be to decide the squad for the World League and after that the one for the Olympics.
“As with every year, I have watched all Argentine League matches and most of the matches in foreign leagues that have featured Argentine players,” Velasco stated. “I have received statistics from the clubs and my staff, and have heard the opinions of Julian Alvarez, Hernan Ferraro and Camilo Soto, mostly about players who participate in the Argentine League. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the clubs, their coaches and the statisticians who always collaborate with the national team.
“In the last two years I have tried many different players, but this year we will work with a smaller group of players. There are some things we need to clarify. One of them is the opposite player role. For this, we are training Bruno Lima who will play in the Pan-American Games in that position. We are also training Nicolas Lazo after watching him playing well in the final two matches of the league. With regards to the Olympic Games, we are also studying and evaluating Jan Martinez as each team can take only 12 players and so one of the wing spikers can replace the libero if needed.
“I believe that the senior Argentina national team is not a roster of the best players in general but of the best players for each role, where the athlete must perform his utmost at any competition.”
Among the tough decisions Velasco had to make was to cut former captain Javier Filardi.
“I informed Javier Filardi of my decision not to call him up for the national team,” the coach explained. “I have thanked him for all that he gave to the team as player and captain. He was very important for our playing formula thanks to his great and outstanding capacity in receiving serves, and also because he always had a winning mentality and the ability of a true captain on and off court. But he’s getting older and is not in the best condition. During our talk, I told him if players are not likely to be part of the starting line-up, it is better that they are not part of the team.”
Regarding the Argentine League, Velasco commented: “I believe very good volleyball is played in Argentina. The technical quality of the players is very good. It is clear that physical strength and power are not as strong as in other international leagues, but that depends a lot on the characteristics of our athletes and it does not happen only in volleyball. It is also obvious that the large distances that the teams have to travel on buses to participate in the local championship hinders the players in their physical training. I believe that the work on gaining maximum strength and power can be improved despite these adverse conditions. I have seen great developments and improvements in many different playing aspects and also having more players using power in the spike.
“I believe there are two aspects in the game that can be improved at the clubs and on the national team. One is aggressiveness and serving quality – floating or jumping – and the other is to make more use of the pipe (spiking in area 2, second line) as a combination of spiking not only after receiving the ball but also as counter-attack.”
Argentina is back in Group 1 in the World League and will face the most powerful teams of the world: Brazil (Olympic and World Championship runners-up), Poland (World Champions), Russia (Olympic Champions), Iran (Asian Champions), USA (World Cup Champions), Italy (World Cup runners-up) and a strong Serbia team.
The Group phase starts on June 16 and runs to July 3.