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04/05/2017 12:37
Team Slovakia get ready for exciting 2017 season
News from the National Federations

Bratislava, Slovakia, May 4, 2017. Slovakia men’s national team have started their preparations for the 2017 season and the players coached by Miroslav Palgut are currently working hard at the Sports and Training Centre in Puchov. Slovakia aim at qualifying for the 2018 edition of the FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship via the tournament scheduled for May 23-28 in the Netherlands. After that, they will be hosting the first round robin tournament (Pool B2) on schedule for the FIVB Volleyball World League, which will be taking place in Poprad on June 2-4. Palgut is currently working with 12 players – and more will join later on.

Juraj Zaťko and Matej Kubš, players from the Slovakian national champions VKP Bystrina NITRA, will join the team next Wednesday. Both outside spiker Matej Paták and setter Branislav Skladaný are still fighting for championship titles with their respective clubs. Paták will contest the final of the French national league on May 6 with CHAUMONT VB 52 and Skladaný is currently busy with the championship series of the Belgian league where he and Noliko MAASEIK are challenging titleholders Knack ROESELARE.

“We have a lot of experienced players who did not play for the national team the last couple of years. We will figure out what chances we stand during the World Championship qualifier,” said Palgut, who still misses his assistant Andrej Kravárik. “His team fights for progression to the first division of the national league in Greece, and as soon as he finishes his commitments there, he will join us. Martin Pipa works with us meanwhile, thanks to his club Spartak MYJAVA for releasing him,” Palgut said.

František Ogurčák, who did not play the whole season after undergoing shoulder surgery, has returned to the national team after one year. He is most likely to play as a libero. “Fero has a lot of international experience we want to benefit from,” Palgut said. Ogurčák, who became a father to his baby son Max on February 6, has already practiced after his surgery: “It was a nice meeting, I was really glad to see the guys again. I have been working hard lately, but it was different if I compare it to the routines we have with the national team,” he said. “I did not play Volleyball for one year, but I am determined to come back.”

“We can assess the level of my performance after one or two matches. I have started to spike, but my shoulder does not seem to be in shape to allow me to spike for a whole match, so it is easier to play as libero,” added the 33-year old player.

The captain of the national team is Emanuel Kohút, who keeps the role he had last year as well. “I had two weeks off after the end of the club season, I got some rest and we started to work hard again. We can see what the potential of our team is only after the first training sessions,” said the experienced blocker who strives for qualification to the World Championship. “We play against weaker opponents at the beginning of the tournament in Holland, but Volleyball is not played on paper. We are more experienced than some other teams, but on the other hand, our team has become younger due to the addition of some younger players. We have to start each match with a clear mind, play with our heart, and I believe we can succeed in achieving our goals,” added Kohút, who recently moved from Radom to Katowice in Poland.

Team Slovakia will travel straight from the Netherlands to Poprad, where they will contest their first tournament in this year’s World League, taking on the national teams of Japan, Australia and Portugal. These will be the first World League matches to take place at the feet of the High Tatra Mountains. Team Slovakia have been participating in every edition of the World League since 2014 – but they previously played on home soil in Košice and Bratislava.

After the World League, Slovakia will start preparing for the EUROVOLLEY POLAND 2017, scheduled for later this summer – where the Slovaks will play Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic in Pool B in Szczecin.

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