Coaches name Brazil, Russia and Italy as Men's U23 favourites


The coaches of the 12 teams at Men's U23 together ahead of the competition opening on Monday

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, August 23, 2015 - Volleyball fans will turn their eyes towards United Arab Emirates on Monday to follow the second edition of the 2015 Men's U23 World Championship which gets underway in Dubai until August 31, where 12 of the best teams all over the world enter the prestigious event.

The twelve teams will represent the whole of the FIVB Confederations in equal basis of two teams per continent added to the organisers and the wild carded Turkey who came across through the World ranking. 

The teams are divided into 2 pools of 6 where the top 2 teams in each pool qualify to the semifinal, while the third and fourth ranked teams play for the 5 to 8 standings. Pool A features hosts Emirates along with Italy, Iran, Cuba, Korea and Egypt. Pool B will see the top ranked teams in the Junior FIVB Ranking Russia and defending champions Brazil face to face with Argentina, Turkey, Mexico and Tunisia.

The press conference for the coaches was held in Marriotte Hotel after the Technical meeting on Sunday, where they were optimistic to achieve their objectives in the Asian country. They gathered on putting Russia, Brazil and Italy as the biggest contenders for the second title of this age category after Brazil clinched the first crown in their homelands 2 years ago. 

Here are the coaches' opinion ahead of the competition opening on Monday; 
Argentina coach Martin Lopez:

"My team of this age group was divided into 3 parts, the first with the senior National team, second with Senior B team and the third with U21 team, and this delayed the final preparations to only a month. Now the final team is composed of 9 players from U21 team and only 3 are U23. We had all our preparations locally in Argentina and played only 3 friendly matches  against the senior National team."

"I know the situation will be very difficult as we were drawn in Pool B with the giants Brazil, Russia. We played Brazil in the final of Pan American Cup in USA, They also beat us in the continental championship, but now we have to revenge. Our objectives is to qualify to the semifinal and have a medal in the podium, but we have to work hard for that." 

Brazil coach Roberley Leonardo:

"This is a very important competition for the players after the youth and junior stages as this continues the same generation and also important to prepare the recently senior team stars. I consider Russia, Iran and Italy are the biggest contenders for the title here.   

"We had a 4 week preparation with 5 players of this team before joining the B team at the Pan American Games in Canada where we won the gold medal after beating Argentina 3-1 in the final on August 7. We hope that we can see more stars emerge during this competition like what Locarelli did 2 years ago in the first edition." 

Cuba coach Rodolfo Sanchez: 

"This competition is very strong and we have to think of the matches day by day. We started our preparation only a month ago as we had only a local camp without any friendly matches. We have here very strong team, but our objective is to win all our matches but we are not thinking on the finals before we can first exceed the first round."

Egypt coach Grzegorz Rys 

"I think Russia and Brazil are the biggest favourites for this competition, but we will do our best here. Most of my team now are from the U21 team who will continue the journey after that to the U21 World Championship to be held in Mexico. This make my team one of the youngest in the competition as we had only one player U23. We missed the important Centre player Mohamed Adel who will join the first team in the World Cup in Japan soon. 

"It is good to play here against different schools in the world as we are the best team now in Africa, but we need to beat teams from Europe, America and Asia.  

Iran coach Akbari Peyman:

"Teams here are very strong and we want to do our best to achieve good results between the best schools all over the world." We have now a good team that can compete at the world level." 

Italy coach Michele Totire:

"This age group is an important mixture of players from the different ages and some of them played already to the senior team. We hope to play very well here to win a medal. We will miss some players who will join the senior team in Japan."
I started the preparation on July 10 as we picked 6 players from the U21 team to join the rest of the players. Russia and Brazil are highly favourites for the semifinal in Pool B, while my team have to fight against Iran and Egypt specially in Pool B, however our main objective is to be between the final 4. 

Korea coach Hong Haechon:

"We worked well to improve our serving and reception to combat those strong teams here. We had here some young players, but their future will be very bright after they gain the experience here. I think Russia and Cuba will be highly favourite here, beside the traditional force Brazil.   

"We had three weeks of preparation in Korea, but we don't have the chance to play strong friendly matches, as we only played against the university team and VB Club Korea locally.  

Mexico coach Roberto Vilches 

"Our main objective is to be between the final 4, however  we are trying to play our best here. This team started since October 2014. We participated in the Pan American Cup as a preparation, but we didn't have the chance to play more friendly matches. Brazil is considered as the main contenders for the title here." 

Russia coach Nikolaev Mikhail:

"We didn't have enough preparations as we started our programme only on July 21. We played 3 friendly matches against Turkey where we lost 2 of them and won once, otherwise we played some matches with clubs in Russia. We will miss 3 players in this competition who join the senior team in the World Cup in Japan."

"In my opinion Brazil, Italy and Russia are the greatest favourites, while as I'm still waiting to see Cuba.

Tunisia coach Moncef Belaiba:

"Our main objective here is to improve the 8th position finish in the same age group 2 years ago, but the situation will be difficult as we play against Russia and Brazil in Pool B. I also put Italy from Pool A as a contender for the title, however I expect some surprises."

"My team started preparations in June as we had several local camps followed by a journey to Egypt where we played against them 3 matches. 

Turkey coach Emanuele Zanini 

"We know that out dream of semifinal ticket will face a lot of obstacles specially we are drawn in Pool B along with Giants Russia and Brazil beside the emerging Argentina, Mexico and Tunisia. We faced a very long season for that team because 3 of them were involved in the Turkish participation at the FIVB World League in June and then 8 of my squad participated in the European League where they played 10 matches in the period of 1st of July till 10th of August. Finally the team was joined together only 10 days ago to start the preparation for the World Championship."

"What made me optimistic is the three friendly matches against the World giants Russia where we won the first two matches 3-1 and 3-2 before we lost the third 1-3. Playing against such world class teams made a lot of enthusiasm to the players and we need that to overcome the strong teams of our pool here to make our dreams alive." 

"With Russia, Brazil and Argentina in the same pool, I think we have to work very hard to qualify to the semifinal as my objectives, but we have to fight to do it." 

United Arab Emirates coach Mourad Sennoun 

"Our volleyball is bit far from that world level, but our passion is very high to achieve something positive for  our supporters. We are now building up for future and I trust in my players, they can do it," 

"We started our journey at the end of May where we had a camp in Slovenia and came back home to train locally in Dubai, before we had another longer programme in Serbia at the end of July where we played 5 strong friendly matches." 


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