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07/10/2011 20:00
Zenit KAZAN joins new season by targeting win in four different competitions
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Kazan, Russia, October 7, 2011. “Our goal this year is to retain our title in the Russian Superleague, to win the 2012 CEV Volleyball Champions League, the Club World Champs in Qatar and the Russian Cup” stated the President of Zenit KAZAN, Rafkat Kantyukov, as he spent some time with the players and the coaching staff before they embarked on their flight to Doha.
A total of five players departed this past summer – for different reasons – from Kazan: US American setter Lloy Ball, middle blockers Andrey Egorchev and Alexander Abrosimov, plus wing spikers Sergey Tetyukhin and Maxim Panteleymonenko. Ball, Abrosimov and Tetyukhin had all received individual awards at the end of the final four of the CEV Champions League staged this past spring in Bolzano, Italy, where Zenit ended up in second place after losing the final match to the local heroes of TRENTINO BetClic.
“Our most difficult task was to find a suitable replacement for Ball” says the Vice President of the club, Ilham Rakhmatullin. “I think we finally managed to finalize the best option by signing Valerio Vermiglio. He is a very experienced player, with an impressive list of honors, and since a while he had expressed his intention to come to Russia. He accepted with real pleasure our proposal to join our team”.
Lloy Ball spent a total of five years in Kazan, turning into an idol for the local fans, so Vermiglio will have very high expectations to live up to after moving from Lube Banca Marche MACERATA where he had played for the past 4 seasons.
Alexander Volkov and Yury Berezhko have also joined Zenit KAZAN after spending the last year in Italy, in Cuneo and Modena respectively. Together with Maxim Mikhaylov and Nikolay Apalikov – also members of Zenit – they won the 2011 FIVB World League this past July.
“I was very pleasantly surprised by the decision of my colleagues and I hope I will be able to fulfill the role of the captain” states Volkov.
Three players included in the roster of Zenit, Gutsalyuk, Sivozhelez and Obmochaev were included in the Russian team that claimed gold at the 2011 Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China. Gutsalyuk moved to Kazan this summer after standing out as one of the best blockers in the past edition of the Russian league, while Sivozhelez top scored for Russia in Shenzhen to be retained by coach Alekno also for the EuroVolley 2011 where Russia finished disappointingly only fourth.
“It is not easy to combine, especially psychologically, the positions of head coach for Zenit as well as of the national team” reveals Alekno. “You are under constant pressure when you train a club where a second place is considered a failure. Every single match and competition are extremely important to us. We will try to go for the maximum goal; in the meantime we have opened the season by winning the Russian Supercup against Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK”.
Zenit will be joining the CEV Volleyball Champions League for the fifth consecutive year, after claiming the trophy back in 2008 and losing the final match to TRENTINO this past March. The Tatars will start their campaign in a group that includes Belgian rookie Euphony ASSE-LENNIK, Germany’s VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN and Romania’s Remat ZALAU. However, the 2011 FIVB Club World Championship starting tomorrow in Doha come first, with Zenit going for gold in Qatar as well.

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