The trinidad Guardian / Nigel Simon
Portugal-based professional Marc-Anthony Honore was the notable inclusion when T&T coach Sean Morrsion named a 14-member team for the NORCECA Senior Men’s Voleyball Continental Championship, a qualifier to the FIVB World Championship.
The 12-team event which will comprise three groups of four teams serves off on Monday at the Olympic Training Centre, in Colorado Springs, USA and concludes on October 1.
T&T, the three-time reigning Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association champions after reclaiming the crown on home soil in July at the National Cycling Centre in Balmain, Couva have been drawn in Pool A alongside host and world second ranked USA, who are eight-time competition winners, Costa Rica and CAZOVA runner-up Martinique and will play their matches at the main competition hall.
Pool B will feature Dominican Republic, Canada, Puerto Rico and Eastern Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (ECVA) runner-up St Vincent and The Grenadines in action at the Olym;ic Training Centre while Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala and ECVA champions, St Lucia square off in Pool C at both the competition main hall and training centre.
Honore is coming off an injury-prone season with Portugal A-1 champions, SL Benfica and did not participate in his team’s final which they eventually won as well as T&T’s successful CAZOVA campaign on home soil.
However, he has since recovered from injury and along with middle-blockers Russell Pena and USA-based Kevin Nimrod will add some much needed international experienced to the Ryan Stewart T&T team.
In addition to Stewart, who enjoyed a brief professional stint in France two years ago, other regular members of the T&T senior line-up selected in the squad are vice-captains, Finland-based Akim Bushe, Joshua Mohammed and Brandon Legall.
Former national youth captain, Marlon “Waldo” Phillip and Daneil Williams, who both represented T&T at the 2017 FIVB World Beach Volleyball Championship in Austria at the end of July are also named to the team which leaves on Sunday along with former youth team players Enrique Harry, Mikheil Hoyte, Adriel Roberts and rising start, setter Kameron Donald.
In Colorado, the round-robin phase in each group will run from September 26 to 28 at the end of which, the two best pool winners will advance automatically to the semifinals on September 30.
The third best pool winner along with the three second placed teams will face off in quarterfinals on September 29 at the end of which the two winners will complete the semifinal line-up and secure four of the five places up for grabs to he 2018 FIVB World Championship in Bulgaria and Italy.
The fifth and final qualifer will have it the hardest to earn as they must force contest the seventh to tenth semifinal classification matches for the best fourth placed team and the three third placed pool finishers.
From there the two winners will meet the losers of the main draw quarterfinals, with the winners of those matches, meeting for fifth and the final ticket to Italy and Bulgaria.
For the Continental Championship, USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico and Puerto Rico qualified automatically while Guatemala and Dominican Republic earned their spots from the Central American (AFECAVOL) qualifiers.
Enrique Harry, Akim Bushe, Marlon Phillip, Kameron Donald, Daneil Williams, Mikheil Hoyte, Ryan Stewart (captain), Adriel Roberts, Joshua Mohammed, Brandon Legall, Marc-Anthony Anthony, Kevin Nimrod, Newton Grant, Russell Pena
Sean Morrison (coach), Tobias Ottley (assistant coach), Kairon Serrette (manager), Asha De Freitas (physiotherapist), Amanda Johnson (psychologist), Tracey Pierre (sports nutritionist/ media)
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