Coaches and captains of Mexico, Germany, Montenegro and Spain (left to right)
Mexico City, Mexico, June 16, 2016 - On the eve of the FIVB Volleyball World League Group 3 Preliminary Round running from June 17-19 in Mexico City, Montenegro’s captain Vojin Cacic said his team’s goal was to repeat last year’s debut performance by reaching the final four.
Cacic said: “Last year we played the final in Group 3 but in my opinion this year’s group is much stronger so our job will be moving ahead improving with each match and hopefully we’ll book a ticket for the Finals once again.” Speaking about his team's debut in last year’s World League, he added: “Our excellent performance in last year’s edition puts a little pressure on the team because we want to prove that we have a good team and we are capable of repeating the Final Four.”
According to Montenegro’s Head Coach Serbian Slobodan Boskan, the fact that his team had a successful World League debut in 2015 is not a source of added pressure. “As in every tournament, we think about one game at a time, step by step and aiming for an optimistic outcome in this year’s World League edition. We are excited to be here and aware that we are competing against teams who are capable of high quality performances. I am sure it will be a difficult weekend but I have a positive attitude entering the competition”.
For the hosts, the adrenaline is very high, in the words of captain Pedro Rangel: “We are still excited with last week's results and we must acknowledge that remaining active in the World League for three consecutive years and already qualifying for next year’s edition is the reason we qualified to the Olympics. Facing teams with a long trajectory, such as the three European representatives here, keeps Mexico improving”.
Mexican coach Jorge Azair has been in the spotlight for several weeks and as in previous interviews wanted to reaffirm that his team's main goal during their World League campaign is to prepare for the Olympic Games. “Mexico’s main goal is the Olympics; we must face the World League with serenity and my players need to get used to be a winning team. Every team here wants to ascend to Group 2 and the days ahead won’t be easy”.
When asked about his team’s physical condition, Azair said: “Some of the players have minor injuries which need to be taken care of, so I will be making several line-up variations”.
Vital Heynen will be concluding his contract as Germany’s head coach and wants to motivate a new generation of players. “My four years in Germany have been fantastic and I decided to stay for the World League because I want to make a difference with a new team. I hope to help a little to put them on the right road”.
Fernando Muñoz, Spain’s head coach, said his team were focusing on the growth of younger players: “We are presenting a very young team, we have an important European qualifier in September and we are looking to prepare talented young players by giving them international experience like the World League”.
Captain Jorge Fernandez of Spain, who has represented his country for seven years now, said: “My team is very young, which I believe gives us extra motivation to compete at this level. We are eager to start the tournament. We’ve been preparing for a month and played several friendly matches in Turkey, our mind is set on winning all three matches, which won’t be easy.”