Last update: 20-Dec-2013 1:21 am
Friday, December 20, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Dickson targets Pan Am volleyball quarters spot
Gideon Dickson, coach of the national men’s volleyball team has targeted a place in the quarters of the Eighth Pan American Cup to be contested in Mexico City, Mexico, from tomorrow to August 25 as his team’s main objective.
The seven-team tournament which will be played at the “Juan de la Barrera” Gymnasium and is expected to be part of the celebration of the Mexico 1968 Olympic Games 45th anniversary. T&T will come up against host Mexico, defending champions USA and Dominican Republic in Pool B while Argentina, Brazil and Puerto Rico will compete in Pool A.
The “Calypso Spikers” will open their campaign against Mexico on Monday from 8 pm followed by matches against USA a day later from 6 pm and Dominican Republic on Wednesday, also from 6 pm.
With four teams in Pool B, only the top three will qualify to the main draw.
The group winner advances to the semifinals and the second and third placed teams to the quarterfinals, meaning T&T will need at least to get one win to do so.
The tournament winner will earn a ticket to the World League qualification playoff and T&T will be making its fifth appearance, having finished in sixth spot from 2006 to 2008 and eighth last year.
However, Dickson, speaking yesterday ahead of his team’s final training session at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo, before its departure tomorrow said, “Preparation for the tournament has been very decent and we have set ourselves the goal of getting out of the group and reaching the quarterfinals for the least.
“We know it not will be an easy task, but the team has a good mixture of youth and experience and a good buzz of confidence.”
The 12-man squad to be led by veteran Nolan Tash also includes season campaigners in Sean Morrison, Saleem Ali, Jessel Davis, Ryan Mahadeo and the duo of Russell Pena and Kevin Nimrod who were not involved in last year’s eighth placed finish in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
In addition, the promising quartet of Akim Bushe, Simon Blake, Brandon Legall and Ryan Stewart also make the journey along with Darnel David, the lone uncapped player.
Last year, Portugal-based Marc-Anthony Honore, along with Bushe, Blake, Legall and Stewart were also part of the team. However, Honore will not be making the trip as he is currently involved in pre-season training with his club, Benfica SL, the current Portuguese champions.
Commenting on Honore’s unavailability, Dickson who guided T&T to its first Senior Caribbean Volleyball Championship crown, three years ago in Suriname, said, “His absence will be a great loss, but at the same time it also provides a chance for the other players to step up and stake a claim for a regular spot on the team.”
At the end of the Pan American Cup, the highest ranked participating team, not already qualified to the FIVB World League 2014, will qualify to the FIVB World League Qualification Tournament Challenge Event.
USA is the most successful team in the tournament having won five times (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012), while Mexico was the other winner in 2007.
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