Simon still on a mission with the Cuban National Team
CIVITANOVA MARCHE, Italy, April 21, 2020 – Robertlandy Simon
returned to the Cuban national team last year targeting
qualification for the Olympics. Even if that goal was not
accomplished, his mission with the team is not over yet.
The star middle blocker had last played for the Cuban national
team during the 2010 FIVB World Championship, when the
Caribbeans, who had outside hitters Wilfredo Leon and Yoandy
Leal on their roster, secured a silver medal, their best-ever
result in the tournament.
When the 32-year-old veteran decided to return to the team
almost a decade later, he found a completely different group of
players to work with. And even if the Cubans failed to secure an
Olympic berth from both the intercontinental and the NORCECA
qualifiers in 2019, he enjoyed the experience.
“Returning to the national team was fantastic even if
unfortunately we didn’t secure the Olympic qualification, which
was the main goal,” he said in an interview with Argentinean
website Somos Voley. “I was a little unsure about how the
players would react to my return since I had never played with
any of them and had been away for a while. But it was great,
they are all amazing kids and welcomed me back in the best
Simon, who is fresh from two very successful club seasons at
Italian powerhouse Cucine Lube Civitanova and winning the
Italian Championship, the Italian Cup, the European Champions
League and the 2019 FIVB Men’s Club World Championship, sees a
bright future for the young Cuban national team.
Talking about players like outside hitters Miguel Angel Lopez,
23, and Yant Herrera, 18, who will join him at Lube Civitanova
next season, the 32-year-old veteran is confident the team has
the tools to remain competitive at the international level for
years to come.
“There’s a lot of interesting players in the national team who
have what it takes to reach the highest level,” he said. “From
playing with them last year and watching them, it’s clear that
they have the talent, so it really depends on them. If they have
the dedication and the commitment, they will get there.”
And they will be able to count on Simon, one of the best middle
blockers on the planet, at least for a little while.
At 32, the middle blocker, who recently extended his deal with
Lube Civitanova, labels his presence at the 2024 Paris
Olympicsas uncertain, but wants to help his compatriots to
develop as much as he can.
“The team need more experience and that’s what I’m trying to
share with them,” the veteran added. “Not only experience in
matches, but also in knowing how you work on a daily basis and
how you integrate with volleyball at the international level. I
can’t tell right now if I’ll be with the team when Paris 2024
comes, but I want to help them to prepare for it as much as I