Bolivar travel to Poland on Saturday to prepare for the Men's Club World Championship.
Lausanne, Switzerland, December 5, 2017 – The FIVB Men’s Club World Championship may be taking place in Europe, but CSV powerhouses Sada Cruzeiro Contagem of Brazil and Argentina’s Personal Bolivar will be confident of taking the top prize home to South America.
Sada Cruzeiro, who won the 2016 World Club Championship with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-15) win over Zenit Kazan, didn’t just win the South American Club Championship to qualify, they dominated it, winning all their matches 3-0.
However, the final in February was a tense affair with Sada Cruzeiro creeping past Bolivar 26-24, 25-23, 25-23 for their fourth continental title. They became the first club to defend the South American title in 25 years. Yoandy Leal was named the tournament MVP and scored 15 points in the final, a total matched by Australian opposite Thomas Edgar for Bolivar.
Sada Cruzeiro weren’t finished with that. In May, they beat Funvic Taubate 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 18-25, 25-19) in front of 14,000 fans to win the final of the Brazil Superleague for the fourth straight time.
And in October, they beat EMS Funvic Taubate 3-1 (25-27, 25-22, 25-20, 25-22) for their third straight Brazilian Super Cup. “There is always a lot of pressure on our team,” said Evandro Guerra. “But we do hard and serious work every day that gives us some confidence.” In the current Superleague season, Marcelo Mendez’s team have won 10 of their 11 matches.
In Poland, Sada Cruzeiro will be going for a hat trick of titles and their fourth overall, but they’ve yet to win the title away from home. Their first match in Poland will be against Iranian team Sarmayeh Bank Tehran, followed by games against Polish champions ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle and Italian champions Lube Civitanova.
Bolivar, who finished fourth last year, will take some consolation from pushing Sada Cruzeiro hard in the South American final, but Sada won’t be Bolivar’s only problem in Poland.
Bolivar’s first match in Pool B will be against local favourites SKRA Belchatow. Following that, they will face Shanghai Volleyball Club and then last year’s runners-up Zenit Kazan.
Bolivar have one of the world’s best coaches in Javier Weber and a highly experienced team with players such as Theo Lopes, Milos Nikic, Pablo Crer and 40-year-old Gabriel Arroyo, so they’re not likely to be overawed by the occasion.
And they may even have a chance to avenge their South American Championship loss to Sada Cruzeiro, who, incidentally have an Argentine coach and an Argentine setter in Nicolas Uriarte.