The coaches and captains of Puerto Rico, Kenya, Colombia and Algeria pose after the pre-tournament press conference on Thursday
San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 20, 2016 – In face of the mounting pressure on the eve of the start of the Women’s World Qualification Volleyball Tournament the coach and captain of hosts Puerto Rico sounded like a team on a mission as they commented about their expectations for the four-team competition that offers one ticket to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Juan Carlos Nuñez and Yarimar Rosa, the coach and captain, respectively, of hosts Puerto Rico looked the most determined during the press conference held on Thursday evening at the Hyatt Place hotel in San Juan.
“This is a big chance for our team getting the chance of qualifying and the girls have worked hard to achieve the feat,” Nuñez said. “They seem focused and very solid during the training sessions and I am not expecting anxiety will be a factor.”
Rosa added: “Our expectations are very clear. If we do our job in the court we will come out through the wide door.”
Eduardo Guillaume, the Argentinean coach of Colombia said that despite a late start of the full-squad training due to players’ commitments with foreign clubs he is confident about his team’s chances.
“We are elated to be here with all the intentions of earning the berth to Rio and we will do all necessary efforts to finish first,” Guillaume said. “It was a good preparation, under the circumstances, but I can see our team is at a good level.”
Colombia’s captain Maria Alejandra Marin had a similar evaluation about the Olympic chances of her team while saying “this is a great opportunity for us and we are going to take advantage of it. Our style of playing has changed since the inclusion of Argentinean coaches.”
David Lungaho, who has been coaching Kenya’s women national team since 2005, is content with the way his side has looked in training for the past two weeks.
“We have been very busy taking part in many competitions and we believe in the strengths of the team,” Lungaho stated.
The captain Mercy Moim added: “We are happy for this second chance and will give our best to get the qualification to the Olympic Games.”
Algeria’s coach Belacel Mohamed Amine mostly commented about the future of his team and the young age of the payers under his guidance.
“Our team is very young and we need to play at our very best to qualify to the Olympics,” Belacel admitted. “We have that in mind and being part of this tournament will benefit us for future tournaments. We are conscious about the level of Puerto Rico and have prepared to play them.”
Belacel praised the qualification system implemented by FIVB which offers Olympic opportunities to those teams not included in the top of the rankings. “It is the first time this system is operating and we like it as it means better opportunities for the smaller countries.”
Algerian captain Safia Boukhima said: “This is another chance of reaching the Olympics. The level is totally different to the African and I am really grateful for the opportunity to be here.”