Sofia, Bulgaria, October 8, 2015. Only 24 hours away from their debut at EuroVolley 2015, the four coaches whose teams are set to compete later this weekend at the iconic Armeec Arena in Sofia enjoyed the opportunity to address a number of local and international media on Thursday, sharing their feelings and expectations ahead of the first competition day.
“We are happy to be among the participants in this European Championship,” said Czech mentor Zdenek Smejkal. “We know we are not among the favorites in our pool, but we have been working really hard for the last few months and we will do our best to achieve a good result. Our goal is to surprise some of the favorites.”
Dutch mentor Gido Vermeulen commented: “We qualified for this Final Round literally in the last moment, so I am happy that we are here. We started our preparation on April 20, so this has been a very long season for us. I think on the first competition day in our pool we are going to have two finals – the winner of the match between Bulgaria and Germany will probably win the pool and the loser of the match between us and the Czech Republic is likely to finish last and will have to leave the competition after the pool stage.”
Germany’s Belgian-born coach Vital Heynen, who earlier this summer steered his guys to a historic gold medal at the Baku 2015 European Games beating Bulgaria in the final, said: “I feel like Bulgaria is my volleyball wife. Our life together started in 2012 and as in any relationship it was very intense at the beginning – we met seven times that year. We met again in 2013, but these meetings were not always happy for me. In 2014 we played again and I was happier. In 2015, we met twice at the European Games in Baku and I was even happier. Now we are here again and we will play against Bulgaria again. Interestingly, we are staying at the same hotel as three years ago, on the same floor and I even sleep in the same room, so I feel at home and I look forward to our meeting with Plamen Konstantinov tomorrow.”
Bulgaria’s mentor Plamen Konstantinov concluded: “First I would like to welcome my colleagues to our country. It has been a very long time since Bulgaria hosted a competition of such importance. Both our team and everybody involved in the organization have been eagerly anticipating this moment. Now time has come. What is expected from us is to perform equally well on two levels – not only as a team on the court, but also as an organizer. I think our pool is the most competitive of the four, so we can expect it to be interesting. The support from our spectators will give us extra strength.”
For more information on the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men in social media, please use the competition’s official hashtag #EuroVolleyM.