In about an year’s time, two of the world’s best players will debut for their national teams. Cubans Wilfredo Leon and Yoandy Leal are only months away from playing for Poland’s and Brazil’s sqauds, respectively, after defecting. Both have faced long and bureaucratic waiting periods from FIVB, and are now ready to reap the fruits of their patience.
While Leon has been constantly vocal about his anxiety to finally play the international circuit, Leal has been more cautious. He knows he’ll have far more competition to actually make the Brazilian team than Leon will have in Poland. However, coincidence has it that Leal will play with Bruninho, Brazil’s starting setter and captain, this year in Italy’s Civitanova. He knows this will be key as he transitions to the national team (Globo.com):
“I have been watching all of Brazil’s NVL games, it’s impossible for me not to see them. It’s a nice learning activity, that is why I don’t miss them. Watching the game lets me see how coach Renan Dal Zotto works, as all trainers are different. We have talked lately, he always asks me about my intentions. I expect to play for Brazil’s national team. Brazil opened its doors for me as a country, so I expect to play and be welcomed by the team. Bruninho as a player is very influential. Since there is a chance for me to play with him in the team, it’s nice that I’ll have the chance to play alongside him in Civitanova as well, so I can get to know his game, as well as personal traits, inside and outside the court. As for me competing with Ricardo Lucarelli for a starting position in the team, I think this will be only natural. Whoever gets the spot will do his best for the team, as will whoever is on the bench.”
Needless to say, any team in the world that has the luxury to add Leal to its roster is much better off than before. Brazilian fans can’t hide their anxiety for the future.
Leon Praises Coach Vital Heynen, Can`t Hide Anxiety Over Polish Debut