There is plenty optimism among the technical staff of Cuba men’s national programme following the undefeated performance against the Japan U23 team in six friendly matches – three officials - held in different Cuban cities.
Head coach Nicolás Vives was pleased with the overall performance of the group taking in consideration the young age of most of the players. However, he admitted the need to continue working hard with discipline.
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“They accomplished their objectives, especially in blocking and attack, and we improved in our difficulties with the reception of floating services, even though those deficiencies are still prevailing,” Vives said.
Working along his assistants Yosvani Muñoz and Angel González with valuable counseling from veteran Justo Morales, he prioritized opening each match with the U21 lineup since the main goal is to get a ticket to the age-group World Championship at the upcoming Pan American Cup in Canada from May 14 to 22.
“Athletes from the U19 and the senior team also played as everyone is preparing for the intercontinental Pan American Cup that offers spots to the 2018 FIVB World League,” Vives added. “We not only worked in the physical and technical part, but also in the mental toughness that always was a trademark of Cuban volleyball.”
Vives, who had a long career as setter admitted his pupils are still very young and also have been together for a short period of time but also praised their great potential for the sport.
“The change of environment for the three official matches after months of training at the national school caused immature mistakes because of the young age, but it is very positive to get out from the routine and face opponents like the Japanese who were improving their level match after match,” he commented.
He praised the job of attacker Marlon Yang, a 15 year-old kid of 2.00 meters height with a bright future, as well as explosive spiker Miguel Angel López, 19, and middle blockers Javier Concepción and José Massó, who are also 19 years old.
He also alternated setters Livan Taboada, who is a rookie with only four months at the training camp, and the more experienced Olympian Adrian Goide.