Mexico City, Mexico, June 2, 2016 – The coaches and captains of the four national teams competing in the Men’s World Olympic Qualifier in Mexico City, agreed that reaching Rio 2016 is a hard task in a strong competition.
Mexican coach Jorge Azair was the most targeted during the press conference held on the eve of the tournament, while the last men’s volleyball Olympic berth has generated enormous expectation from the local media.
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When asked if he feels pressure, his words showed confidence “I do not call it pressure, I prefer responsibility, towards ourselves and Mexico’s volleyball. We are confident because we are well prepared; we did what was needed, and we expect a rough competition. The four of us share the same dream and we are ready to play”.
Azair added that he hopes that the home advantage will play an important role.
Mexico’s Captain Carlos Guerra indicated that he and his teammates are anxious “we really want to play and give a wonderful gift to our country. This is our first time fighting for an Olympic qualification, the first time we were the host team, so we feel an obligation towards Mexico”. He finished by inviting the Mexican public for their support, “come and join us reach our dream and see an excellent competition”.
Algeria’s coach Ikhedji Mouloud expressed the valuable opportunity his team faces. “This will be an exciting tournament, we have the chance to be in the Olympic Games and we expect a very hard competition, with four very strong teams. We all have the same chances to qualify”.
In his opinion the host team has an advantage, “Mexico will be a tough opponent with their fans playing an important role in this competition. We are aiming to win the Olympic berth and we will do everything in our power to win”.
Ahmed Amir Kerboua, Algerian captain said “it will not be an easy task, for sure we all prepared well. I would like to thanks Mexico for their hospitality”.
Argentinian coach Daniel Nejamkin, appointed as head coach of Chile said to be realistic, “the team is young and highly motivated but I am fully aware that we are not a candidate, still we have high hopes”.
Nejamkin also agreed that all the players here are highly motivated “this is a wonderful experience and battling for an Olympic berth is a dream for every player. I took the position of coaching Chile six years ago and not even in our wildest dreams we thought of being here. We are making history in Chilean volleyball”.
Chile’s captain Rafael Grimalt was asked if he feels the team has an advantage because they have been in Mexico for a while “I do not consider us in any advantage, we are well prepared like the other teams. Each one of the members in my squad contributes in our teams’ performance and we will do our best”.
For Coach Fethi Mkaouar of Tunisia, they are here to prove they will be the ones to reach Rio, “we have very high respect for our opponents, and the four of us are in the same position. For us, this is a chance to confirm that we have all the means to be the winners of the last berth available. We lost the final match in the African qualification to Egypt in five sets and this is our opportunity, but in sports it is not only hope and that is why we come well prepared. The team is in a good level”.
Tunisian Mahdi Ben Cheikh, who was member of the Tunisian Olympic team in London 2012, said “the experience of being in the Olympics is exceptional; we are aiming for our seventh qualification”. He was questioned if he feels Tunisia is considered the favourites of the competition, “I really do not feel that way, just that we are mentally and physically prepared; we are thinking in one match at a time”.