2011 CEV Volleyball European League - Men - Volleyball fever starts spreading around in Kosice

With only one week to go before the final four that Slovakia will be staging for the first time in history at the splendid “Steel Arena” in Kosice, the guys mentored by Italian-born head coach Emanuele Zanini have first to complete their campaign in the prelims playing Turkey for the last round of action. These games will be also held in the fabulous “Steel Arena” which this past May played host to the 2011 Ice Hockey World Champs.
The Slovak national team got to Kosice already on Wednesday. “We will play for the very first time in the Steel Arena and this is a real bonus before the final four coming up next week” says middle blocker Emanuel Kohut. “In this way we can really profit of the home advantage” he stresses.
Slovakia will be missing captain and setter Michal Masny who is suffering of a slight knee injury; the 31-year old will enjoy some rest this weekend to get fully fit for the final four. “We want to win our matches with Turkey and display a good performance, so that we’ll be able to attract as many fans as possible for the final four. We hope to play in front of a big crowd here in Kosice” adds Tomas Kmet who will captain the Slovak team this weekend.
The guys of the national team got very close to the local community on Thursday as they joined the official opening of a Beach Volleyball court there in Slovakia’s second-largest city. An exhibition match was organized alongside the opening ceremony and that game was joined also by the President of the Slovak Volleyball Federation, Mr. Lubor Halanda, himself a great Volleyball player in the ‘80s. “This Beach Volleyball court is a great idea” he said, “as I want to see young guys and girls joining the court and not spending all of their time in front of a PC”.
The players of the national team signed autographs for their fans and attended also a press conference. “We wanted to spend some time with our supporters and I am happy that we are here” stated spiker Martin Sopko, who also joined the exhibition but actually as co-commentator of the game. “I hope this will turn into an ideal invitation for the games coming up in the Steel Arena” he said.
Head coach Emanuele Zanini traveled for the first time to Kosice and he really likes the ambiance there: “The city is very charming, the hall is great and there is a lot of interest from the fans and the media. That is a real pleasure. We will do our best to go for a great result” declared the Italian-born coach who is mentoring Slovakia for the fourth running season.

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