Robertlandy Simon, one of the best middle-blocker in the world, was brutally treated by Cuban Volleyball Federation and Cuban politics two years ago and even locked up and forced to leave his homeland. In spite of this humiliation, Simon did not accept offers from Italy or Bulgaria to put on their national T-shirts and still desires to represent “The Hot Island”, however, he requires a change of attitude in relation to players.
CVF has accepted the resignation of longtime coach Orlando Samuels Blackwood. He has been replaced by Rodolfo Sanchez, a former National Team player and coach of the Cuban squad who finished 7th at the 2013 Under 19 World Championship in Mexico and a bronze in 2011.
There has been a rumor that the CVF officials are carefully evaluating their volleyball program after disappointing results which includes inviting players who have quit/defected to personal reasons. There is a possibility that players like Robertlandy Simon, Osmany Juantorena, Wilfredo Leon, Joandry Leal & the lefty Fernando Hernandez to rejoin the team in the near future.
Simon is very much interested to represent Cuba once again but it’s up to the Cuban Federation if they are ever going to change their ways on how they treat their athletes.
“I started to play for the national team at age of 17. My first international experience was in a friendly match against Russia and continued in Argentina when I made my debut in the World League… Being a captain of the team was never my decision and then it was a difficult moment of my career, but I worked hard and quickly adapted to my new role. Now, I think it was a beautiful part of my life as an athlete.
The reasons that led me to leave the home? One day I woke up and I said to my mother: – Mom, I cannot do this anymore. I got tired of all the problems and wanted only one thing, to improve our lifestyle a little bit, because we could not live like that. At the same time Wilfred Leon was carrying water daily in the room in order to take a bath. So I went and asked for help and now I am here.
It was difficult step for me because I’m Cuban and I feel bad for young children in Cuban. I could not accept proposals to play for other country. I said: – No! I am Cuban and I do not care what they say or what are they offering to me. In the end, the internal problems led me to quit from the national team. Now I am calm, maybe I did not get the right decision, but my life is now calmer and I feel good with this development, I do not have problems.
Many people see me differently now, asking me in the street why I left the national team and my answer is that this is a question for other people and has nothing to do with me. I left the national team because I wanted, this is answer to these people.
What does Cuba means to me? Cuba is my country, I was born there. I do not know how to describe Cuba, I’m 100% Cuban and wherever I am, I find myself Cuban and everybody knows it. I live now a happier life, but I feel the problems of my country like I am there. I still want to go to my country but I cannot play for it if some things do not change.”