A glitch in the plan is no cause for worry for the Ahmedabad Defenders, which would look to bounce back from the defeat it faced at the hands of Brazil’s Itambe Minas at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship (CWC) 2023 in Bengaluru.
However, the task cut out for them is nothing short of an uphill battle. The Defenders will face the defending champion, Sir Sicoma Perugia of Italy, on Friday with hopes of a miracle.
The pressure of defending the title is no walk in the park, and yet the Italian setter and the last CWC edition’s Most Valuable Player, Simone Giannelli, rebuked the thought.
“I don’t think (that we are under pressure). We are here due to last year’s victory. For us, it’s important to play high-level volleyball, improve our game, compete against good teams and do our best,” said the 27-year-old setter.
Giannelli is also curious about the loud and boisterous Indian fans. “This is my first time in India, so I’m curious about the Indian fans. I’m happy to play against them (Defenders), and the only thing I know is that India loves volleyball,” he added.
This will be the Italian team’s second match of the tournament after facing Minas on Thursday. On the other hand, it’s a do-or-die match for the Defenders, as winning this might guarantee them a spot in the semifinal, a feat historic for the host country.
India’s Ashwal Rai hopes that the young talents in the team can channel their performance to dominate the opponent.
“Most of the players in this team are young, which will lead to an aggressive performance, which will help us to dominate the opponents. We will try our best to stand up to their hopes and expectations and aim for the title,” said the Karnataka blocker.
On the other hand, Angamuthu, who was the Defenders’ second-best scorer with seven points against Minas, planned on taking it slow and steady.
“We haven’t thought about the semifinal or final, as we want to take it slow by planning on one match at a time for better performance. If we perform better, we will surely have the game in our hands, and help us compete against the best players in the world,” said the 29-year-old attacker.
In a battle favouring the defending champion, it would be interesting to see if David can beat Goliath.
- Sports Ministry does not want the wrestlers to suffer, says WFI secretary
- IND vs ENG: Late bloomer Patidar relishes ‘dream-come-true’ moment on Test debut
- MBSG vs EBFC, ISL 2023-24: East Bengal looks to continue winning momentum against Mohun Bagan SG
- 22 years and running! The story of a Yorkshireman’s Goa gig
- Getafe complains to La Liga that Madrid’s Bellingham allegedly called Greenwood ‘rapist’