By Sports Reporter/Doha
Italy’s Roberto Piazza signed a one-year Qatar team coaching contract with Qatar Volleyball Association (QVA) yesterday.
“It’s a pleasure to be here. I’ve seen Qatar’s matches against Australia, China and India (during the Asian championships). I have also seen the league matches and think the players have the potential but there is room for improvement,” Piazza, who has a coaching career of over two decades, said after signing the contract with QVA president Khalid Ali al-Mawlawi.
Also present on the occasion were QVA board member Ali al-Faihani and Qatar team manager Mohamed Jassim al-Kuwari.
Having helped Germany bag the European Games gold medal in Baku, Azerbaijan, last year as a second coach to Vital Heynen, Piazza moved to Greece to guide Olympiacos.
He will formally assume coaching duties in May after finishing his present term with the Greek side.
“I know that Cichello had done a great job with the national team. I would like to extend his good work. My main aim would be to maintain the current level,” the 48-year-old Italian, who has replaced Argentine Juan Manuel Cichello, said.
Talking about the new coach, al-Mawlawi said, “We’re honoured to sign well-known coach Roberto Piazza for the Qatar team. We’ll be working with him for the development and growth of the national team. Our first important event is the 2016 World League
“The second target is the AVC Asia Cup to be held in India later this year. The coach has suggested some names in the support staff and we’d provide the required persons so that he can do his job well,” al-Mawlawi said.
“We do have targets for Piazza and I think the goals are both achievable and practical. In the World League, we just want to be strong and tough competitors. But in the Asia Cup, we’d like to finish better than the fourth place that we got in the Asian championships (in South Korea last year),” the QVA chief said.
Piazza said he would like to go step-by-step in pursuit of the objectives that the QVA has set for him. “The World League is our first step. There are strong teams in Group 3 like Germany and Slovenia. Germany are the European Games champions and Slovenia finished runners-up. So our aim would be to prepare the team to be competitive and play good volleyball against such difficult rivals. This will also be a good chance for our players to test themselves against quality opponents.”
Talking about the preparations for the World League, he said, “A strong team is a big word. But I feel a coach needs about 20 good sessions in 20 days to reach a competitive level. Of course, I need to examine all the Qatari players personally.
“I may call a lot more players and after 10 days, we will focus on 15 players.”
He also said he would need more than a season to deliver the goods.
“A coach really needs more than a season to prove himself. I’ve seen in the past that Qatar is improving fast. During the Emir’s Cup, I’ll get an ideal opportunity to see the national team players against some important players of the world. That is the right time for them to learn something,” Piazza said.
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