Players and coaches due to compete in Bari outline World Championship ambitions


Bari, Italy, September 11, 2018 – There is a lot of anticipation in Bari where a major volleyball competition returns four years after the 2014 Women’s World Championship took place at PalaFlorio.

This time around, Bari will play host to the matches of Pool C with six elite teams – Australia, Cameroon, Russia, Serbia, Tunisia and USA – taking to the court as they start pursuing their dreams of glory at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2018. The African derby between Cameroon and Tunisia will open the programme on Wednesday afternoon, before VNL gold medallists Russia play Australia and USA take on Serbia.

On Tuesday afternoon, the coaches and captains of the six teams attended a highly successful media meeting, where they shared their goals and expectations for the competition.

Paul Carroll, captain of Australia: “We are really in good shape and ready to take on this World Championship. We have been working very hard and we will do our utmost on court to show our best in this round. Our dream would be to make it to the podium. It is a fascinating goal indeed, but not very easy to reach, since we have very tough opponents to face.”

Mark Lebedew, head coach of Australia: “We have been preparing the best way we could in order to take on this very competitive pool. We aim at progressing to the next stage and we have good resources and a strong determination to do it. We are ready to take to the court to show our best skills.”

Nathan Wounembaina, team captain of Cameroon: “We will try to progress to the second round. Back in 2010, we played in Italy and we were able to get to the second stage of the competition. Attack along with a solid group spirit are our main assets. I believe we are a good team.”

Sergei Shliapnikov, head coach of Russia: “There is no doubt that the pool in which we are playing is a very competitive one. We will prepare each match with the same attention and ensure that our team stands out - regardless of the opponent we have to compete. We aim at finishing first in the pool. We have many strong points on our side but we also need to work on others to improve. We are in a great mood on the eve of such an important event. We have had the chance to visit Bari and walk through the city centre. We have also seen the Basilica of Saint Nicholas, which is a link connecting Bari and Russia.”

Nemanja Petric, captain of Serbia: “The opportunity to play in this World Championship here in Italy is really great. This country is a second home to me. My experience in the Italian clubs with Sir Safety Conad Perugia and Modena Volley made me grow both as a person and as a volleyball player. Tomorrow the curtain of a long and difficult tournament will rise. Among the teams in this pool, Russia and the United States stand out as the favourites. They have that special sparkle to boost them differently from the other teams. On our side, quality and experience are a good asset to show our skills and book the ticket to the Finals. Italy’s opening match? Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to enjoy it but the pictures showed the great performance on the court at Foro Italico. I would like to congratulate the Italian Volleyball Federation for their great commitment to delivering such an event.”

Antonio Giacobbe, head coach of Tunisia: “We will be trying to do our utmost based on our possibilities when facing these great teams: that’s what we aim at. Among our opponents, there are teams running for the gold and it would be very difficult for us to have the chance to face such valuable sides if it was not for tournaments of this kind. This championship will be tough indeed and we are glad to play these high-level competitors. This experience means playing on home soil for two reasons: we will compete in Italy and in Bari especially where I had the opportunity to coach earlier in my career. I am particularly happy to be here and I hope I will fully enjoy this tournament.”

John Speraw, head coach of USA: “We have always played in difficult and competitive pools. Russia and Serbia will be very tough competitors. We aim to get to the Final Six, but this pool and the results we achieve here are fundamental if we want to go further and win. We start Pool C at our best, both physically and mentally. Our strength is based on the strong connection between the athletes.”