Brazil’s female NT still doesn’t know what hit it. Used to be one of the premier teams in the world, coming off two Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012, the team didn’t even make it to this year’s WCH Final-6. The squad, which was hobbled with injuries all throughout the year, did not have a a successful VNL either, falling out of the podium and finishing in 4th place.
Amidst Brazil’s poor performances is legendary coach José Roberto Guimarães, who has been at the head of the team since 2003. Guimarães was heavily criticized by Brazil’s volleyball media for choosing to take to the WCH a lot of injured players in hope they would recover through the competition. They didn’t. Even though he has previously stated that he stands firmly behinds his decisions, Brazil’s campaign has taken its toll in the coach’s mind:
“We suffered a lot this year. I’ve never had such a difficult year at the head of the national team, a year so complicated in terms of planning and structuring work. We have to take lessons from it, the players need to learn from every situation. The fact that we lost the first sets against Japan, thus being eliminated from the WCH, but resumed the game and fought to the end showed a very good side of our team. We never give up. We were not classified, but we could not leave the game either. We needed to keep fighting. With the pain, the criticism, the problems. It was important not to give up. And this team did not give up. I thanked the players a lot. I leave the competition with my head held high. I am sorry for not being among the Final 6, but at the same time, know that this team has overcome many negative moments. Now, we have to look forward.
Hearing Guimarães state that 2018 was his toughest year at the helm of Brazil’s team must come as a surprise to Brazilian fans. Remember, this is the same coach that in 2004 lost an Olympic semifinal match to Russia being up 24-19 in the game’s 4th set, in what most people consider to be Brazil’s most traumatic Olympic moment ever. Regardless, he bounced back with two Olympic wins after that tragedy, and is certain that he can once again find success with the team:
“We know that the pressure for results by Brazilian fans is very large. The next tournaments will define the future of Brazilian volleyball. We can not go back in time. The higher you are, the more you will be challenged for your position. It is important that the players have in mind that they are important for Brazilian volleyball. These are growing pains that are part of life. These things happen in life just to give you a new direction, to see where we are wrong, where we need to improve. It is our future. We cannot stop helping volleyball grow in Brazil, it is the sport I chose to love.
Next year will be an extremely busy, troubled one. We will play the League of Nations, Olympic qualifiers, South American Championships, The World Cup, and Pan American games. Brazil will have to assemble two teams to compete in all tournaments. So that’s another concern. And we do not have that high number of female players. We need to meet with the confederation now to have that feedback, to think about the planning up to the Olympics.
A huge concern I have now is Tandara Caixeta’s move to China. She is fundamental for our team. We know that Chinese clubs don’t pay much attention to physiotherapy and recovery. That’s what I hear. And we are always talking to her, that she needs attention with some things, needs to take care of her body. These care needs to happen, depending on where they are, so the players can always be at top shape.”
View this post on Instagram
De virada, a seleção brasileira feminina de vôlei venceu o Japão, nesta quinta-feira, por 3 sets a 2 (23/25, 16/25, 28/26, 25/21 e 15/11) em Nagoya. Com o resultado, o Brasil encerrou a participação no Mundial. Nosso muito obrigado a todas as jogadoras e comissão técnica pela luta e dedicação ao longo da temporada. Valeu, Brasil! 🇧🇷💚💛🇧🇷💚💛🇧🇷 #bbnosesportes #cimedesportes #grupocimed #asicsvolleyball #imoveme