Cuban government of Raul Castro increases sportsmen’s salaries. Moreover, it is planned to pay athletes bonuses for results and give them permission to sign contracts with clubs abroad. Does it mean that many star players can be back in male and female Cuban NTs?

At the end of September in Brazilian media appeared news about new Cuban policy associated with sport athletes. It can prevent Cuban sport from significantly worse performances throughout upcoming years.

Cuban national volleyball teams quickly lost most of assets and become relatively weak teams, comparing with the best teams, both in male and female competitions. Yet in 2010, Cuban male team was runner-up in World Championships, while female team was 4th in Olympic Games in Beijing. In next years both NTs played worse and worse. In last year it looked a bit better, male team was 3rd in World League and female team was 6th in world Grand Prix, but both teams didn’t qualify to Olympic Games in London. Between previous and current NT seasons main players in both NTs left and we saw this weakness. Male team was 13th in WL and female was 19th in WGP. Also in NORCECA Championships they didn’t present good, especially women (7th place), men saved honour, taking bronze.

Who left Male and Female NTs in last years? Below lists of missing players, in brackets clubs, where escapers are now.

Men:
Setters: Yoandry Diaz, Raydel Hierrezuelo ?, Oriol Camejo (Lokomotiv Novosibirsk – Russia)
Opposites: Fernando Hernandez, Michael Bozlueva Sanchez (Korean Air Jumbos Incheon – South Korea), Angel Dennis (Drean Bolivar – Argentina), Yadier Sanchez (KePCO Vixtorm Suwon – South Korea), Leonardo Leyva (Samsung Fire Bluefangs Daejeon – South Korea)
Outside Hitters: Wilfredo Leon, Yoandry Leal (SADA Cruzeiro – Brazil), Henry Bell (Galatasaray Istanbul – Turkey), Osmany Juantorena (Halkbank Ankara – Turkey), Leonel Marshall (Fenerbahce Istanbul – Turkey), Rolando Jurquin (Funvic/Taubate – Brazil), Yassel Portuondo (Transfer Bydgoszcz – Poland), Raidel Poey ?, Pedro Iznaga Ortiz ?
Middle Blockers: Osmany Camejo ?, Robertlandy Simon (Copra Piacenza – Italy), Dominico Odelvis (ShygysSvinetsStroy Ust-Ksmenogorsk – Kazakhstan)

After 2012 year team left Diaz, Leon and Hernandez (all in bold). Situation of Hierrezuelo and Osmany Camejo is still unknown, maybe they’re still banned (they’re marked in bold italic). Other players have foreign clubs, I did’t found info only about Poey and Pedro Iznaga Ortiz (in italic). Gathering this group we have 20 players, with many wing-spikers. We have not many middle blockers and there is no libero here. Creating NT roster I’d add to them Isbel Mesa as middle blocker, wing spiker Rolando Cepeda who is important player in present, much wekaer NT and two liberos, who are in NT quite long time: Keibel Gutierrez (since 2006/2007) and Gustavo Leyva (since 2008). This strong wide team could fight with Brazil like they did it in Italy 3 years ago.

Women:
Setters/Opposites: Ana Cleger, Lillianny Marcillan, Yanelis Santos ?, Daymi Ramirez (Fujian? – China), Yusedey Silie (Azeryol Baku – Azerbaijan), Eglis Savin (Kazkhstan)
Middle Blockers: Gyselle Silva ?, Nancy Carillo (Omichka Omsk – Russia), Liannes Castańeda (Volero Zurich?- Switzerland), Rachel Sanchez (Kazkhstan), Zoila Barros (CSM Bucarest – Romania)
Outisde Hitters: Wilma Salas, Yoana Palacio, Rosir Calderon (Dinamo Krasnodar – Russia), Kenia Carcaces (Volero Zurich – Switzerland), Yusleynis Herrera (Banana Boat Praia – Brazil), Yumilka Ruiz (Uralochka Yekaterinburg – Russia), Martha Sanchez (CSM Bucarest – Romania)
Liberos: Lisbet Arredondo ?, Liana Mesa (Rote Raben Vilsbiburg – Germany)

We have also 20 women here – exactly the same amount as men. After last year team left Salas, this year left Marcillan and Cleger. I listed here also Yoana Palacio because of being out of NT before NORCECA Championships, I don’t know if she escaped or not. (all these players in bold). Santos, Silva and Arredondo left team earlier, however I didn’t find anything about these players playing abroad (all in bold italic). Some of these players are getting older, so Mesa, Ruiz, M.Sanchez, or Barros may not come back. Because of this it’s important to invite to NT some younger players, who could play in NT in last years. Places should get middle blocker Rosana Giel and libero Emily Borrell. To team can join also players who can get experience from their teammates such as outside hitter Sulian Matienzo, and promising wing spiker Melissa Vargas. If it’s necessary, they can also call libero Dayesi Luis.

As we can see Cuba has huge potential to be on top in volleyball world, however best player escaped and now it’s high time to gather them up. I hope that plans for change in salaries for athletes will be introduced as soon as possible and that most, if not all players, want to join back to NT. It will give only benefits, not only for Cuba, but also for whole volleyball world.