José Roeberto Guimarães, the head coach of the Brazilian women’s national team, has just revealed that Olympic gold medalist Fernanda Garay, arguably Brazil’s best outside hitter, has communicated him her intentions of retiring from the team. Here is his official statement (Source 1, Source 2):
“Garay came to see me when her team was in São Paulo about 2 months ago. She came to my house and explained that she wants to dedicate herself to her family. I respect that. She claimed that she lived 4 years away from Brazil and that she has now only really had time to be with her family. I think that it’s very natural for her to think about getting pregnant. She has been married for 6 months now, will be 32 years old this year, and being a mother would be a fulfilling step in her life. I’m sad because I was counting on her. Fernanda is at the apex of her form, she is mature and experienced. Not being able to count on a player like Fernanda Garay is always worrying. What I have made clear is that if this is not a definite position, that the doors of the team will always be open to her. No one knows what the future holds.”
The news come as a big blow to Brazilian fans. Garay has for years now been one of Brazil’s most regular performers, and the hitting duo of Natália Zilio and Garay was perhaps one of the best in the world. As of right now, Guimarães does not have a single player at his disposal who can replace Garay with the same level of excellence as she has constantly displayed with the team.