NORCECA Women’s Playoff gets under way in Trinidad


PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, July 15, 2014 - Mexico and Costa Rica, the top-ranked teams at No. 28 and 29 in the world, respectively, will get the NORCECA 2014 World Championship Qualification Women’s Playoff going on Wednesday at Sport & Physical Education Centre of the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies.


Five countries will be involved in the five-day round-robin tournament and the winning team will secure the 24th and final place in the Women’s FIVB World Championship from September 23-October 12 in Italy.


Panama and hosts T&T will play Wednesday’s second match from 8 p.m. and, after a bye tomorrow, Nicaragua will get their campaign going at eight o’clock Thursday night against five-time Caribbean champions T&T.


During today’s technical meeting Jorge Azair, who led Mexico to an eight-place finish in the Pan American Cup last month, stated that his team expects to qualify.


“We know that this tournament will be very strong, but we have put in a lot of work and trust that it will pay off,” the coach said.


With appearances in the last two editions of this tournament, Costa Rica is the only competing country with World Championship experience.


Coach Horacio Bastit stated: “Our expectations are high and, although the challenge is very difficult, we are optimistic about qualifying.”


The Nicaraguans are ranked 46th in the world and their coach Rene Quintana stated that “all the teams play at a good level and the competition will be very strong.”


However he identified Mexico, Costa Rica and T&T as the top teams and feels that “the difference will be how we perform against them.”


The Panamanians are ranked the lowest at No. 55, but coach Reynaldo Ortega stated that “we worked very hard and will give our best and try to win.”


Nicholson Drakes, who has just taken over the reins of world No. 31 T&T after Cuban Francisco Cruz was the coach for several years, stated: We have been working very hard to be victorious for this tournament. The players are ready and we are finalizing our preparation to do that.”


Competition schedule:


Wednesday July 16

18:00 Costa Rica v Mexico

20:00    Panama v Trinidad & Tobago


Thursday July 17

18:00 Mexico v Panama

20:00    Nicaragua v Trinidad & Tobago


Friday July 18

18:00 Nicaragua v Panama

20:00 Costa Rica v Trinidad & Tobago


Saturday July 19

18:00 Costa Rica v Panama

20:00 Mexico v Nicaragua


Sunday July 20

18:00 Costa Rica v Nicaragua

20:00 Mexico v Trinidad & Tobago