Cyprus are ready to rise to the occasion, according to what Bulgarian-born head coach Dimitre Letchev said at a press conference to start proceedings of the 2016 CEV U20 Volleyball European Championship – Men for the Small Countries Division.
Cyprus are joined by the Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, San Marino, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the battle for the title at the fifth edition of the competition in the capital of Cyprus.
“We are sure that our players will honour our country in the best way possible and we cannot hide the fact that our goal is the gold medal,” said Cyprus Volleyball Federation President Michael Krashias.
“On behalf of all the players, we are ready to confirm the trust shown to us by our coaches,” added Cyprus National Team captain Antonios Liotatis. “We want the gold medal to stay in Cyprus.”
The home side will be looking at reclaiming the title they lost to Scotland in 2014 in Luxembourg, when they stayed away from the competition due to financial reasons at the height of the economic crisis. Cyprus have won gold in the first edition in 2006 in Schaan and 2012 in Motherwell, Scotland. Luxembourg picked up the title in 2008.
The Faroe Islands will be making their first ever appearance in the competition this year and two-time bronze medallists San Marino will be returning after missing out on the 2014 edition.
Play opens on Friday, with the six teams dived into two pools with double matches each on the opening day. Pool A is headed by the hosts, with defending champions Scotland leading Pool B.
The pool winners advance to Saturday’s semi-finals, where they will be joined by two teams emerging from playoffs involving the second and third-ranked teams in pool play.
The competition concludes Sunday with a classification match followed by the bronze medal game and the final.
Click here for further information including a detailed match schedule