Finland will count on Eemi Tervaportti's experience
Lausanne, Switzerland, May 27, 2016 - Head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo will lead a renewed team in FIVB Volleyball World League Group 2 as Finland participate in their 11th consecutive edition. FIVB Volleyball World League
Finland has gradually worked its way to the top of international volleyball since 2006 when it got a place in the FIVB World League. This summer's tournament, however, promises to be a colourful one for the light blue and whites.
In his third year as a coach with the team, Sammelvuo has selected 15 players to join Finland's FIVB Volleyball World League campaign, which will visit Japan and Egypt and Finland, plus a possible Final Four in Portugal. Seven of the players selected have little experience at this level and Finland will have to work hard to repeat past successes.
A duo of captains - setter Eemi Tervaportti and opposite Olli-Pekka ”Lelu” Ojansivu - have a bigger role than ever before. At 26 and 28 years of age, they are leaders off and on the court. Other more experienced players include 23-year-old libero Lauri Kerminen and Niklas Seppänen, who is still younger.
Newcomers to the team include an experienced league player - Anssi Hakala (32), who is a libero - promising 20-year-old outside Peetu Mäkinen and Henrik Porkka, straight from the junior national team.
"We have to have the guts to bring new players to the team. Along with living in the moment, we have to look to the future," said Sammelvuo.
"We are building something new all the time. It is really important to have around me a team which puts everything in every day. What we do together is important: culture, values, attitude give us chance of success. We also need patience," he added.
Sammelvuo's team have four matches before the FIVB World League. The Finns meet the Netherlands in Kokkola on May 27 and 28. Next weekend they will play Slovakia at Jyväskylä, also twice.
Commenting on the matches, Sammelvuo said: "It is great to have the Netherlands and Slovakia here with us. These matches and the upcoming World League weekend in Tampere are again great chances to build up volleyball and a fan culture here."
Finland will start the 2016 FIVB World league in Osaka, Japan from June 17 to 19. They will play home team Japan, Korea and Cuba.