30.06.2019 - Hamburg, Germany
One of the nicest things about the Beach Volleyball World Championships is that it offers countries that don’t get to constantly compete at the World Tour an opportunity to play against the best teams in the planet in a great atmosphere.
In that regard, Mozambique, which had men’s teams playing in the last two editions of the tournament, has been very lucky…or maybe not – it really depends on your perspective.
The African country first appeared at the World Championships in Vienna 2017 when Adelvino Nguvo and Justino Tovela debuted against the reigning Olympic champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Schmidt of Brazil. Two years later, Nguvo returned to the event, now with Delcio Soares, and the team was gifted with an opening match against the silver medalists of the Rio 2016 Games, Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai.
“We watched when these two teams played for the gold medal in Rio and also rewatched it a few more times on Youtube later,” Nguvo revealed. “It’s an honor to play against the best teams in the world and we came here willing to play opponents of this level. We also get to interact and talk with them for a bit and it’s nice to see that they besides of fantastic players they are also great people.”
To complete their own experience at the ‘Olympic podium’, the Africans now need to face Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen. For that to happen still in Hamburg, Nguvo and Soares will need to win at least one of their other two pool matches, against Brazil’s Andre Loyola and George Wanderley, this Sunday, and Austria’s Robin Seidl/Philipp Waller, on Wednesday.
“We’d love to play against them too,” Nguvo added. “We came to the World Championships to play those games. We obviously know that the level here is way too high for us and if we’ll be entering in a match with very little chances of winning it, we’d better do it against the best in the world and feel in our own skins how it is to play them instead of just watching.”
Playing against the likes of Alison/Bruno and Lupo/Nicolai is obviously an honor to lower-seeded teams, but it can also be an embarrassing experience duo the massive gap between the duos.
In Vienna, the Mozambique team managed to score 26 points against the Brazilians in two sets. In Hamburg, their count against the Italians only went until 16, but disappointed is certainly not the best word to describe how they felt after either match.
“We know that the gap is huge and that while they’ve been at the most important tournaments of our sport we’re nowhere near that,” Soares explained. “Their experience is huge and the support they have is infinitely superior to ours. So, there’s no way we’d feel disappointed about it, we can only be proud that we managed to get here.”