Ze Roberto and the Brazilian national women's team will embark on a new journey at the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix
Lausanne, Switzerland, July 6, 2017 – Brazil embark on a new journey with a number of new faces in their line-up, but the man at the helm remains the same as Jose Roberto Guimaraes (Ze Roberto) is tasked anew to lead their campaign to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
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Ze Roberto is also tasked to lead the team to defend their title in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, which is an important first step on the road to Tokyo 2020.
“I have been with the squad for 13 years and we have a new challenge in this new cycle after the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro,” said Jose Roberto Guimaraes, who guided the Brazilian women’s team to Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012. “The motivation is the same. To represent my country is one of the most important tasks that I have and I am very grateful for that. The great challenge of this next cycle is to keep Brazilian volleyball among the best in the world. A new generation of talented girls will emerge and they are working very hard to vie for championships and achieve good results.”
Ze Roberto has already achieved initial success with his new team and there was little cause for frustration, as his team overcame Germany in the final of the Montreux Volley Masters.
Brazil’s latest friendly matches prior to the start of the World Grand Prix also yielded success against Turkey, where Natalia top scored in the final match with 14 points. The Brazilian coach was happy with the performance of his team, led by libero Gabi.
“The most important thing was that we managed to gain rhythm against a quality team,” said the experienced coach, who gave all his players playing time in the friendlies with Turkey. “The important thing is that all the players participated in the match and gained pace for the World Grand Prix. We have a new group and we need them to play as many games as possible before our first match against Belgium.”
Brazil’s 24th appearance in the World Grand Prix begins in Ankara this weekend, with matches against Belgium, Rio 2016 silver medallists Serbia and hosts Turkey. In 24 appearances, the South American team has finished on the podium for a record of 18 times. The team has climbed the top podium for 11 times and has won nine of 13 titles since 2004. With such a spectacular record, the expectations of the team are very high this year.
“We obviously want to qualify for the Final Six with this new group,” Ze Roberto said.
The Group 1 Finals will take place from August 2 to 6 in Nanjing, China, where their Rio 2016 quarterfinal adversaries are automatically qualified as hosts.
Brazil suffered a five-set loss in the quarterfinal to eventual Rio 2016 gold medallists. Ze Roberto puts their Rio 2016 loss to China in perspective and uses it to move forward with his new team.
“That was one of the biggest disappointments of my career. However we are embarking on a new chapter now.”
The World Grand Prix provides that perfect opportunity to avenge their loss to Olympic champions China, especially that the young team is now hungry for success.
Their home fans will be able to gain an impression of the quality of the new Brazilian team in Cuiaba from July 20 to 23, when Brazil host Belgium, the Netherlands and USA on the third week of the preliminary round.
USA are the team that have posed the biggest challenge to Brazil in the last nine years of the World Grand Prix. Brazil and USA have picked up the winners’ cheque at each edition of the prestigious event; where the former triumphed five times, while the latter won four titles.
FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix winners