Simon and Lopez lead Cuba’s Roster for 2024 Volleyball Nations League

HAVANA, Cuba, April 28, 2024 – Star players Robertlandy Simón and the no less distinguished captain Miguel Ángel López lead Cuba’s roster for the 2024 Volleyball Nations League (VNL), which preliminary round from May 21 to June 23 will close the Olympic qualification through  the FIVB world ranking.

Alongside the towering middle blocker are also middle blockers Javier Concepción, José Israel Massó, Roamy Alonso, and Alexis Wilson, as well as other outside hitters Marlon Yant, Osniel Mergarejo, Julio César Cárdenas, Bryan Camino, and Yusniel González.

Christian Thondike, Lyván Taboada, Adrián Goide, and Julio Alberto Gómez, are announced as setters, while Yonder García and Alain Gorguet are both liberos.

As opposites, Jesús Herrera, Miguel David Gutiérrez, Alejandro Miguel González, Michael Sánchez, José Miguel Gutiérrez, José Carlos Romero, and Carlos Charles, although the first three in this important position will not be available from the first week, according to their head coach Jesús Cruz and his assistants Mario Izquierdo and Manuel de Jesús Espinosa.

Cruz explained that “left-handed Herrera, the team’s starter for several years, requested to recover from a knee injury that has been bothering him, so he won’t be available for the first two weeks, and Alejandro Miguel recently underwent minimally invasive knee surgery, which will require several weeks of recovery, and we may not be able to count on him in the League”.

Regarding Miguel David Gutiérrez’s case, the head coach and the team doctor, Lenin Hernández, intervened, referring to his satisfactory recovery, but they won’t be able to count on him in the first week. However, they will assess his condition over time, and if by the second week he can train fully and join the games.

“However, as we have always said, the most important thing is the players’ health, and then we will try to have alternatives”, Cruz commented during a press conference, chaired by Ariel Saínz, INDER vice president and president of the Cuban volleyball federation.

Cruz, a former player and since last year the head coach of the stellar team, qualifies this start as somewhat adverse, but the inclusion of Michael Sánchez, “El Ruso”, gives him “some relief”.

“He is an experienced player, but he comes fully committed to fight with the team, and that is very positive, and we also have outside hitters who can assume that position at a given moment”, he pointed out.

“The Volleyball Nations League is an extremely difficult tournament for the Cuban team because our only possibility of qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games will be through the ranking, so we must accumulate the most points in this league” he commented.

By May 6, the majority of the players should be training at the National Volleyball School, as some have not finished playing their respective leagues outside the island. Only two or three from the main squad would be missing by that date, although by the time they depart for Argentina, the team should have accumulated training sessions with all those who will participate in the two preparation matches in that country on May 17 and 18. They will then move to the neighboring South American giant for the start of the competition, where they will face Brazil, Germany, Japan, and Iran, in that order.

Saínz referred to all conditions being in place for this preliminary encounter with Argentina’s  national team and adjustments being made with the organizers to gain access to the television signal for live broadcasting in coordination with Cuban television.

The official also pointed out that after participating in the three preliminary phases of the League, if the goals and objectives are met and they advance to the final, there is a possible participation route planned at a base in Europe to attend that final round, scheduled in Poland.

Completing this team are team doctor Hernández, physiotherapist Eladio Vives, and national commissioner Jorge Sosa, who will serve as the head of the delegation.