Bari, Italy, September 17, 2018 – Antonio Giacobbe feels at home in Bari. The head coach of Team Tunisia has returned to the city where he spent six years at the helm of the local women’s team – meaning PalaFlorio feels like a second home to him. Born in 1947, Giacobbe has travelled Italy from north to south and back to coach men’s and women’s teams and was at helm of the Italian women’s national team from 1980 to 1985 as well.
However, Giacobbe seems to have a connection with Northern Africa as well. Upon his return to Tunisia, last year he helped them claim top honours from the CAVB African Championship, thus qualifying for the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2018 in Italy and Bulgaria.
Giacobbe worked for Tunisia from 2000 to 2007 before moving to Egypt in 2009 and returning to Tunisia more recently. The gold medal from last year’s African Championship secured Tunisia’s participation in the World Championship and with it, Giacobbe’s return to Bari as well. “It feels like home for two reasons, since I am spending time in my home country, Italy and in Bari too, where I coached for six years. I am happy with visiting this city again and especially with the opportunity to enjoy this World Championship experience. I am obviously fully focussed on the competition but happy that I could see many friends and come back to this stadium, where many emotions and memories started to flow almost instantly.”
Giacobbe is proud to say that in Tunisia, people regard the Italian national league as the world’s best. “People from all over the world look at the Italian national league with much respect and admiration,” he says. “The same applies to people from Tunisia as well.”
Regarding the World Championship, Giacobbe picks his favourite: “As for this tournament, I think Russia have a very strong team – maybe they do not play the best volleyball but they have a terrific physical power to their advantage that they can use to solve the most difficult situations in a rather simple way.”