‘That is not their identity.
That is not their soul.
Cuban physiotherapist Rolando Boza Cruz has joined the technical staff of the senior national women’s volleyball team for the upcoming Fourth Round FIVB NORCECA Women’s World Championship Qualifiers and Senior Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA), both scheduled for here in T&T.
The highly anticipated World Championship qualifiers involving host T&T, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua from which only the winner will advance to the World Championship in Italy in September takes place at the University of the West Indies Sport and Physical Education Center (UWISPEC), St Augustine from July 16 until July 20.
Cruz addition to the staff comes after requests were made to have a physiotherapist on board and he will be no stranger to the players as he previously worked with the team, as recent as the Third Round World Championship Qualifiers which were held in Cuba in May, where T&T ended second to the host country.
He is expected to aid the players in their recovery as the training schedule has been increased to two training sessions per day under the guidance of former assistant coach Nicholson Drakes, who has taken charge of the team following the resignation of Cuban Francisco “Panchee” Cruz (no relation to Roland) earlier this month.
Other members of the coaching staff are Idalmis Moya Gato (assistant coach), Sean Morrison (assistant coach), Esseil Seecharan (assistant coach), and Ian Williams (massage therapists).
T&T’s preparations for the qualifiers suffered a blow with setter Renele Forde being ruled out due to injury.
A key member of the team and former Florida International University student-athlete, Forde, the first choice setter suffered a season ending left thigh injury at the recently concluded 13th Pan American Women’s Cup in Mexico where T&T was beaten by the host,
Apart from Forde, who was also a member of the team which missed out on qualification to the World Championship four years ago after getting to the final round of qualifiers, all other members of the team who were involved in Mexico and the Third Round qualifiers held in Cuba, are in training.
The winner of the qualifiers will go directly into group C of the 24 team FIVB World Championship and would be based in the Verona for the first round matches against USA, Russia, Thailand, Netherlands and Kazakhstan.
For the tournament, teams and officials are expected to arrive in T&T on Monday, while matches and the opening ceremony are scheduled for Wednesday from 4 pm.
Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children and the public is being asked to come out in their numbers wearing red, white and black to support the national team as they aim to make the best of this final opportunity to create history for themselves and this country.
NORCECA Women’s Final Round
Mexico vs Costa Rica, 6 pm
T&T vs Nicaragua, 8 pm
Costa Rica vs Nicaragua, 6 pm
T&T vs Panama, 8 pm
Panama vs Mexico, 6 pm
T&T vs Costa Rica, 8 pm
Panama vs Costa Rica, pm
Mexico vs Nicaragua, pm
Panama vs Nicaragua, 4 pm
T&T vs Mexico, 6 pm
Closing ceremony, 8 pm.
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