Six men’s teams from five countries will play in India from December 6-10
The final event of the 2023 international volleyball season, the FIVB Men’s Volleyball Club World Championship will feature the best club teams on the planet and the title contenders for this year have now been revealed. Information about the women’s event will be released on November 6.
Set to take place in Bengaluru, India, from December 6-10, the Men’s Club World Championship will have Italy’s Sir Sicoma Perugia attempting to defend the title they won last year facing Türkiye’s Halkbank Spor Kulübü, Brazil’s Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei and Itambé Minas, Japan’s Suntory Sunbirds and India’s Ahmedabad Defenders.
Italians and Turkish qualified through the 2022-2023 CEV Champions League, while the two Brazilian teams earned the right to compete by ranking first and second in the South American Men’s Club Championship and the Japanese secured their spot with their victory at the Asian Men’s Club Championship. The Ahmedabad Defenders will represent the host country India and were selected after their victory at the 2023 RuPay Prime Volleyball League.
Defending champions Perugia will make just their second appearance in the tournament, coming back after taking the title last season. The Italian club has some of the biggest stars of international volleyball in their squad, such as Italian setter Simone Giannelli and Polish outside hitters Wilfredo Leon and Kamil Semeniuk.
Türkiye’s Halkbank will have their first shot at a world title after finishing third at last season’s Champions League. The Turkish have two top-tier stars in their roster, having signed French Olympic MVP outside hitter Earvin Ngapeth and retained Dutch high-scoring opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz.
Brazil’s Sada Cruzeiro are easily the most seasoned team among the six contenders, having appeared in the Club World Championship ten times before, winning four titles (2013, 2015, 2016 ad 2021). Sada have several past and present Brazilian national team players, such as Olympic champions Wallace de Souza and Lucas Saatkamp, as well as Cuban star outside hitter Miguel Angel López.
Their in-state rivals Minas will contend for the world title for just the third time after finishing seventh in 2016 and fourth last year. A four-time world champion with Sada, middle blocker Isac Santos is the main signing for Minas, who also retained Brazilian national team libero Maique Nascimento.
The first Japanese team to compete at the Club World Championship, the Sunbirds won the Asian title for the second time earlier this year. Olympic champion opposite Dmitriy Muserskiy leads a talented group of Japanese players, which includes middle blocker Taishi Onodera, setter Masaki Oya and outside hitter Kenya Fujinaka.
The winners of the second edition of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League, the Defenders will represent hosts India in the tournament. Opposite Angamuthu Ramaswamy and outside hitter Santhosh Santhosh were among their standouts in their national victory and should lead the team against the best in the world.
The five-day tournament will have the six teams split into two pools of three. After three days of pool play matches, the best two sides in each pool will advance to the semifinals.