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 possible way.”


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 can.”