Bratislava, Slovakia, April 14, 2015 – Slovakia coach Flavio Gulinelli revealed his key players from the 25-man lineup, who will reinforce the team’s bid in the FIVB Volleyball World League and other international competitions for the 2015 season.
The Slovakian squad is seeking to improve from their debut in the World League, hosting the preliminary round matches in the eastern city of Kosice, then advancing to the Final Four in Bursa, Turkey, eventually finishing in fourth place.
In the 2015 season, Slovakia will make a big leap by organising the World League Final Four in Group 3 at the capital city of Bratislava. The four best teams from Groups F, G and H, including Slovakia will fight for the trophy from July 4-5 at the AEGON Arena.
Italian mentor Gulinelli formed the best possible team with experienced players from last year’s World League roster led by Emanuel Kohut, Frantisek Ogurcak and Milan Bencz.
“The World League will be a great opportunity for us to test the players before the European Championship which will be held on October,” Gulinelli said. “We want to win as many matches as possible in preliminary round in Mexico and Greece, and then get the best result in Bratislava.”
Gulinelli will try to reinforce his squad with setter Michael Masny and middle blocker Tomas Kmet. The 33-year-old Kmet, who has 195 caps in the national team, recently won the bronze medal with Berlin Recycling Volleys in the CEV Champions League.
“It is a great opportunity for us to play in front of our home fans,” Kmet said. “We like the venue, it is very suitable for volleyball. Our goal is to win the Final Four to advance to Group 2.”
Two years ago, the Slovakian national team played an exhibition game at AEGON Arena against Russia. The match was a big success as the sold out crowd witnessed great volleyball action. This successful result of the exhibition game inspired Slovak Federation president Lubor Halanda to host the World League Final Four and for his team to be a regular at the premier annual men’s tournament.
“The Final Four is a very important competition and we wanted to bring this kind of competition back to the capital city,” Halanda said. “We are proud to be among the best teams in the world. Our goal for this season is to play our best volleyball and advance to Group 2.”
Gulinelli is grateful that the national federation is taking the necessary steps to put Slovakia in the volleyball map.
“I want to thank the national federation for making such a big effort to organise the Final Four at home in Bratislava,” Gulinelli said. “We are hoping to return the favour by good performance not only in the Final Four, but also in the preliminary round.”
Slovakia will play in Pool G with China, Greece and hosts Mexico in the city of Tepic from June 12 to 14, then move to Thessaloniki, Greece from June 19 to 21. The Final Four will take place two weeks later in Bratislava.