Training has resumed for the athletic Cubans but some of its stars like Wilfredo León, Rolando Cepeda, Isbel Mesa & Yordan Bicet will join the team later on after they all fulfill their military service duties.
“We prefer they do it now, in the beginning of the cycle. To have all the time available, with no interruptions while preparing. They must finish on Saturday. After a few days off, they will join the rest of team. ” according to the only coach in the world who still uses a pen and a notebook to scout for other teams. (President Castro needs to give him an Ipad Mini! Hah!)
Coach Samuels also revealed that he has lost 2 of his core players namely the veteran Henry Bell and the young but powerful opposite hitter Fernando Hernandez.
Bell has decided to retire while Fernando has quit the team at only 23 years of age.
Rumor has it that Fernando plans to start his professional career and will be inactive for 2 years before he can legally leave Cuba. Another report we’ve received is that he is currently in Puerto Rico. Wherever he is and wherever he’ll go, such a sad news that he has left the team! We could never forget the day we saw him and he winked at us! Hah! We’re not kidding!
Back to what we’re reporting…
Coach Samuels has included 3 young players the world will need to watch out for in the coming years. They are Osmani Uriarte, Abraham Alonso, Ricardo Calvo and Dariel Albo.
“By now they are responding very well to the new training dynamics. Step by step, they are learning from the experience of older players and growing up with the indications of technical staff.”
As a matter of fact, his new team will play a couple of friendly matches versus Venezuela in Havana, Cuba.
Cuba has lost a lot of world class players within the last 4 years or so (even the women’s team!) but we remain optimistic that a new generation of talented athletes will soon surprise the rest of the volleyball world under Coach Samuels.
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