Six teams ready to fight for two tickets to #FIVBWomensU23 World Champs
2017 FIVB U23 Women's Volleyball World Championships - European Qualification
Vrnjačka Banja, Serbia, July 26, 2016. The city of Vrnjačka Banja is ready to host the European qualification tournament for the 2017 edition of the FIVB U23 Women's Volleyball World Championship. Six teams will vie for the two tickets at stake to make it to next year's global event taking place in Slovenia and their respective coaches single out Turkey, Serbia and Italy as the sides that are most likely to achieve this feat. It is the first time in history that such qualifier is organised to determine Europe’s representative at the U23 World Championship since in 2013 and 2015 the European Ranking for the U19 age group was used to compose the European contingent.
Bulgaria coach Nikolay Ivanov said his team has travelled to Vrnjačka Banja only to show their best performance: “I think we had a very good preparation phase. We have been working together for more than two months, but we are not among the favourites. I hope we can cause some surprises. Our group is very good and in my opinion Serbia, Turkey and Italy are the favourites of this tournament.”
Croatia coach Miroslav Aksentijević is determined to make the best out of this opportunity: “We have a very young team, with most girls born in 1998 and 1999 and I have been working with these players after coaching the senior team earlier this season. I think this competition is really important because we usually see many promising talents in junior competitions, but they somehow get lost before they move up to the senior ranks. One of the clear-cut favourites is Serbia, for sure, but Turkey and Italy are also forces to be reckoned with.”
Italy coach Luca Cristofani said he has travelled to Vrnjačka Banja with a young team as well: “It is always nice to play a competition of this calibre. We came here with 18 and 19-year-old girls and this can make the difference. However, I hope we can achieve some good results. In my opinion, Serbia and Turkey are the favourites.”
Turkey coach Ferhat Akbaş is sure this tournament won’t be an easy ride for his team, but he very much hopes that his players will be able to achieve some good results: “We have to take it day by day and to follow the results of the other matches to get a clearer picture. I cannot name one favourite, because in Europe we have a lot of strong teams, but I can say that playing at home is always an advantage. My team includes players from the U18 age group as well, so this group will be performing together for the first time here.”
On the day before the start of the much awaited competition on home soil Serbia coach Marijana Boričić found out that Sara Lozo won’t be able to play: “Some of the girls came here after long breaks and they didn’t have enough time to prepare for this tournament. I am sure they can do a lot more, but we will try to do the best we can with this team. I hope our fans will help us play a good tournament. In my opinion Turkey and Italy are the favourites, but I wouldn’t underestimate any other of the participating teams.”
Poland coach Waldemar Kawka thinks his team isn’t among the favourites: “We started preparing for this tournament only after the end of the FIVB World Grand Prix. We played some friendly matches, including a few with Turkey. In my opinion the favourites are Italy and Serbia. Earlier this month, we played against Serbia and lost, but back then we had a much younger team.”
Matches in Vrnjačka Banja will be played from Wednesday to Sunday at the sports hall named after Serbian basketball legend Vlade Divac.
Click here for more info including a detailed match programme