“It is very important that we can play teams as good as those that we’ll meet in the upcoming European qualifier” says head coach Ricardo Rocha. “We will play three good teams and this is a great opportunity to see where we stand and improve our quality of play. Our players showed some good performances last week as we participated in the Gala Volei tournament while other things still remain to be fixed. It is important that they can cope with the pressure and develop the right game plan. I believe they will fulfill our wishes and expectations and hopefully all this will turn into good results”.
“The Navidad Tournament will help us see where we stand, correct mistakes and identify those players who can take up major responsibility in key moments. Our strategy will change from game to game; we’ll analyze the other teams and adapt our plans accordingly. We shall always start from the assumption that we can beat anyone and we are here to win” continues Rocha. “The group was joined also by players who are not part of our permanent training camp; some have also played at the senior level which makes it difficult to get them acquainted with our regime. However, they are gradually adapting to these conditions and they have stimulated a positive competition among the members of the group” he says.
The Portuguese Volleyball Federation wants to make sure that these young players can combine competitive sport with their school obligations. “This is being done and quite successfully. I am also a teacher of physical education and at this age I think that school is the most important thing. If they neglect their studies, they won’t join our practices. We are very strict in this sense: if they can’t achieve minimum results at school, they won’t be eligible to play in the national team and are sent back to their clubs. I agree with this policy and the players are aware of this as well”.
Read more volleyball news from all around the world here