PLEASANTVILLE, San Fernando, Trinidad, July 6, 2022 – Barbados, the perennial kings and six-time winners, including the last four editions will not be present to defend their title at the 2021 Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association Junior Men (Under-21) Championship which serves off at the Southern Regional Indoor Sports Arena on Thursday, meaning a first time champion will be crowned from the five competing teams.
Host, T&T who ended in third spot at the last edition in 2019 in Martinique and have a best finish of silver in 2015 will be keen to stamp their authority on home soil, but will be hard pressed to do so against the quartet of formidable opponents in 2017/2018 runner-up Haiti, US Virgin Islands and Suriname, the latter two yet to make their at this age-group level.
The five competing men’s teams will contest a straight round-robin series due to the late withdrawal of Martinique, champions in 1999, and their respective coaches while worried by their team’s preparations all expressed hope that once they play to their true potential, capturing the title wont be beyond their charges,
ISAAC RAPHAEL (US Virgin Islands): “The boys got to train for only about two days so our preparation has not been that ideal.At the same time, we have some older players returning to the team, but the core of the team is mainly a young one as we are in a developmental stage. So during the tournament I really looking forward to seeing them grow, compete and fight as hard as they can as a team and hopefully it will be good enough for us to have some success as I do believe we will be able to hold our own.”
PEER NASSEIR (Trinidad and Tobago):“We are the underdogs in this category and we will surely be using the approach on the cautious and optimistic side since each of these teams are unknowns and will also be eager to take home the crown.”
ANTOINE VLIET (Suriname): “I expect that this age-group will be much more competitive as there are more teams firstly and with the older players you tend to get a higher level of play as well.
“We are looking forward to playing as much as possible and we are aiming to win the title as we have the believe we have the best possible group of players that we could have selected.
DERISIER SARTRE (Haiti assistant): “We had one month to prepare the team and our problem is that we don’t know the level of the other teams in the competition to give a proper prediction on our chances. However, we are very confident in our chances and we are confident of doing our best and we will see if it is good enough for us to win.”
STEVE DAVIS (Jamaica): “Our chances of winning this tournament is as good as any team we believe. Even though we have been hampered by some students and their school examinations and a short preparation time, we intend to give off our best and we are expecting great things from this group of players.”