Yoandy Leal (right) and Wilfredo Leon both made an impact on last year's Club World Championship, when their teams finished respectively first and second
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 1, 2017 – Krzysztof Ignaczak has no doubt that volleyball fans will be in for a feast of action when the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship takes place in Poland from December 12 to 17.
Eight teams will battle it out to be named the world’s best club, first in two pools of four in Lodz and Opole, and then in Krakow where the semifinals and medal matches take place.
Ignaczak is tournament ambassador and has been travelling the world to meet the teams, the players and the coaches to gauge how each side is gearing up for the tournament.
Zenit Kazan’s Wilfredo Leon and Sada Cruzeiro’s Yoandy Leal are the two players that stand out for him. And the tournament gives them the chance to display their skill on the world stage.
“These are the players recognized by many as the best of the best, true icons of volleyball. This opportunity cannot be overlooked. I hope that Polish halls will be filled to capacity.”
Leon will play for European champions Zenit Kazan and the Russian side will take on the Argentine champions, Club Ciudad de Bolivar and two wildcard teams, SKRA Belchatow from Poland and Shanghai Volleyball Club.
Leal will line up for reigning champions Sada Cruzeiro, who take on the Polish champions ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle, Asian champions Sarmayeh Bank Volleyball Club of Iran, and Italian champions Cucine Lube Civitanova in Pool A.
“I’ve seen how different teams work and I would say Zenit Kazan and Sada Cruzeiro have the best chance,” Ignaczak said. “The Brazilians have won the last two editions, but they have always been at home.
“I asked the coach Marcelo Mendeza about this and he said it doesn’t matter. If his players are on form, then they won’t be affected by playing on a different continent. Don’t forget about Lube Civitanova though. Italy has the hardest league with players from all over the world and their players are hardened in heavy battles.”
One thing Ignaczak is in no doubt about is the atmosphere that will take over the country in volleyball-loving Poland.
He was part of the Poland side that won the 2014 World Championship in Poland, and so knows exactly the type of atmosphere Polish fans can create in the three venues – the Tauron Arena in Katowice, the Lodz Arena in Lodz and Opole Arena in Opole.
“I’ve been all over the world and I heard from everyone that it is great that Poland is organising the Club World Championship, because the fans create an atmosphere like nowhere else in the world,” Ignaczak said.
“Polish fans are recognized today as the best in the world. They know them everywhere, even in the most exotic locations on the volleyball map. Everyone has heard about the unique atmosphere in our arenas.”