The joy of volleyball returns to Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva


FIVB Vice President Cristóbal Marte Hoffiz presided over the press conference in Havana ahead of the World League matches between Cuba and Bulgaria

 Havana, Cuba, June 4, 2015 – The coaches of Cuba and Bulgaria attended a press conference in Havana ahead of this weekend’s FIVB World League Group 2 matches.

FIVB Vice President Cristóbal Marte Hoffiz said: "The fans of volleyball in Cuba will have a feast this weekend. The return of the World League to Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum gives me personal joy. I am sure both Cuba and Bulgaria will put on a great spectacle and I wish all good luck."

Bulgarian coach Plamen Konstantinov said it would be a challenging weekend for his team: "We are very happy to be here. We know Cuba have a young but gifted team. As you know, Bulgaria will host the Final Four of Group 2, but our goal is win every game in order to get to the highest level. I am also aware of how intense Cuba’s followers are, so playing in Havana will be challenging. Our philosophy is win one game at a time."

Cuban coach Rodolfo Sánchez said his squad was pleased to be back on home turf: "We are happy to return to our headquarters after one year playing abroad. As coach Plamen said, our players are very young, some of them will feel the pressure of playing in the noisy Ciudad Deportiva, but we will put our hearts into every play. We will always take the court with a winning mentality. I see in my players the hunger for glory, the desire of playing in front of their fans. We need to improve our teamwork. We’ve made too many mistakes, some of them mind mistakes, maybe because of the pressure. We don’t know much about the Bulgarian team, but knowing coach Plamen, I guess they are very competitive. Still, I promise great emotion this weekend."

Bulgarian captain Andrey Zhekov said: "I've been the captain for almost a decade, and I know matches against Cuba are always tough. I'm sure this year will be the same. Cubans are young and athletic, they have a huge potential and they are stronger at home. It’s true Cuba has faced some problems, but this is a team that never surrenders and always manages to surprise.”

Cuban captain Rolando Cepeda is also thrilled to be back. “I'm very happy to return to Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum,” he said. “Most of my mates have never played here at this level. It will be a tough test because our fans are very intense and loud. Our goal is winning and to gain points to get to the Final Four. Expect the best from us.”


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