Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, July 13, 2017 - Coming off of three straight wins in their 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix Group Three Pool B3 matches at the Yaounde Multipurpose Sports Complex, Yaounde in Cameroon, Europeans France will start as firm favourite to repeat its performances when Week Two Pool D3 matches begin at the National Cycling Centre on Friday, July 14 until Sunday, July 16.
France will do battle with host country Trinidad and Tobago, Cameroon and Australia over the three days of competition which begins at 17.30 local time daily in their Group Three Week Two Pool D3 series.Quick links - Volleyball:
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France coached by Felix Andre defeated Cameroon 3-1 (25-16, 25-27, 25-19, 25-16); Algeria 3-0 (25-14, 25-11, 25-19) and Venezuela 3-2 (24-26, 25-12, 19-25, 25-21, 15-10) in Cameroon, and on Friday, will renew its rivalry with Cameroon while Trinidad & Tobago will also renew its battle with Australia, after their meeting at the Olympic Gymnasium, Aguascalientes City, Mexico, which the ‘Volleyroos’ won in straight sets 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-23).
Speaking ahead of the start of the competition, all four coaches expressed their hope for their respective teams to play more consistent volleyball in order to get positive results.
T&T coach, Cuban-born Francisco Cruz said his team were delighted to be competing at the World Grand Prix level after so many years of dominating the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) region.
“We have dominated CAZOVA for a long while now, but now this is a different level, so as a team we have to be patient as we are coming up against countries who have long histories in the competition.
“As a national team we now have the facilities to train so now the next step is for us to compete against top level countries on a regular basis so that we can lift our level.”
Cruz added: "My players were very nervous during the first week in Mexico as it was a new level for them, but we are hoping for a better performance at home.”
Shannon Winzer, coach of the Australians and the only woman head coach among the four said her team was looking forward to building on its strong finish in Mexico.
She added: “We had a slow start in Mexico, but in our final two matches we began to find our consistency and here in Trinidad we would like to continue on that path.
“However, T&T also showed flashes of their true ability and playing at home we expect them to be much more consistent in their play as well so we are looking forward to an interesting encounter.”
France’s Felix Andre said his team dubbed 'Team Puissance' (Power) are keen to continue from their impressive sweep in Cameroon.
“We have the same objective as we had in Cameroon as we want to keep learning and get to a higher level and play against top countries.
“Our first match against Cameroon will be a revenge of a meeting we had in Africa on the weekend and it's a big rivalry, because the players know each other well from club league competition in Europe.”
Cameroon’s Jean-Rene Akono said he was hoping to see a greater level of consistency as well from his group. “During the first phase at home my team played very up and down and I will love to see the players be much more consistent in this second week of competition,” he said.
“There are four good teams in the group when you look at the world rankings so we need to be focus on each match if we want to get the results we want.”