Volleyball-Foreign-based players return for World Cup qualifiers


Vel (right) and FurneauTo date, only Seychelles and Mauritius have confirmed their involvement with both their men’s and women’s teams in this pool L group which also includes Madagascar and the Comores.

Seychelles Volleyball Federation (SVF) chairman Jude Florentine told Sports Nation this week that he is still hopeful that the other countries will turn up and is still liaising with the Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) to try to get these teams to be here by Thursday next week when the draw will be made.

As for this zone seven competition, it is expected to be fiercely contested by whoever decides to take part as our teams have our foreign-based players back in force to defend our colours.

Chairman Florentine said the players are here as they are in the off-season and are also obliged to compete for their national teams.

The lanky Rodney Ah-Kong who plies his trade with Rennes in the Pro A in France is present and so too is Ricky Vel who had a one-year spell in Saudi Arabia with Al Saudi.

However, Vel has come to the end of his contract and has re-signed for local club Beau Vallon for the remainder of this season as he waits if he will be recalled in this Middle East nation. 
At Beau Vallon he will join forces with Ian Furneau who only last year returned from a successful spell in France with Nice.

Men’s assistant national team coach François Ally told Sports Nation that he is happy to have such experienced players in his squad.
“Our training has gone fine though not as we would have wished for as we would have liked to have had more time. It has not been the best preparation but the experience we have will serve us well in this tournament,” noted former Seychelles international Ally.

As for the women’s squad, Nathalie Agnes, our top-class setter, has also arrived to prepare for this tournament. Agnes is also based in France with Neuville Sport but she told Sports Nation she may be moving to St Chaumond.

However, women’s national team coach Nichol Lesperance will badly miss the powerful attacking prowess of Marielle Bonne who is injured. Bonne is currently based with French club Harnes Volleyball Club where they have just been promoted to division two (division d’excellence) but coach Lesperance is hopeful she will be ready for the next phase of this World Cup qualifier.

Coach Lesperance says that Bonne is a real asset and is hopeful she will recuperate to join this squad which comprises both talented youngsters and experienced campaigners.
“We have had a good preparation with three friendly matches. We also have a very good squad with a high team spirit,” coach Lesperance added.

As for the tournament, chairman Florentine stated that if only the two countries turn up, they will automatically qualify for the next round which will most probably be hosted in Mauritius in September. 

Chairman Florentine also revealed yesterday that Comores had confirmed their non-participation.

“If there are only two teams we would like to play three matches but this will depend on the technical committee when they meet next Thursday,” chairman Florentine said as he commented on his preferred format for this World Cup qualifying tournament.

R. J-L.

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