Men's Club World Champs 2023 - News.

Ngapeth TVF

French superstar Earvin Ngapeth will be on the court on Wednesday as his team Halkbank Ankara face the Suntory Sunbirds (Photo: Turkish Volleyball Federation)

With teams from Brazil, Italy, Japan, Türkiye and hosts India in contention, the 2023 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Club World Championship begins on Wednesday, in Bengaluru, and in just five days the new world champions will be crowned.

The six teams were split into two pools and the action at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium will start with one match in each pool on Wednesday.

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The opening match of the tournament will have Türkiye’s Halkbank Spor Kulübü facing Japan’s Suntory Sunbirds in a Pool B duel involving two teams that will be appearing in the tournament for the first time – the encounter will start at 17:00 local time (11:30 GMT).

Pushed by French star outside hitter Earvin Ngapeth and high-scoring Dutch opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz, Halkbank are the undefeated leaders of the Turkish League with ten wins and also triumphed in their two CEV Champions League matches.

“Our pool opponents are both very strong and we are aware of the challenges we’re going to face,” Ngapeth commented. “We respect our opponents, but our goal is to get two wins and we are confident we’ll be able to overcome these obstacles. We have the power and the quality to do it.”

Nimir TVF

Nimir is another star in Halkbank's roster (Photo: Turkish Volleyball Federation)

The Sunbirds, who are the first Japanese team to compete for the world title, are at the top of the standings in the country's V. League with 11 wins and one loss. The team has a strong Japanese core, highlighted by middle blocker Taishi Onodera, setter Masaki Oya and outside hitter Kenya Fujinaka, and also Chinese outside hitter Yuantai Yu and Olympic champion opposite Dmitriy Muserskiy.

FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship - Match Schedule

Later, at 20:30 local time (15:00 GMT), the home team, Ahmedabad Defenders, will make their debut against Brazil’s Itambé Minas in Pool A.

The Indian side will make history as the first team in the country to take part in the event and have qualified following their victory in the second edition of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League, in 2023.

Minas return to the Club World Championship after finishing fourth last year, in their second appearance. The team of Brazilian national team players Maique Nascimento (libero) and Isac Santos (middle blocker) got four wins and one loss in their first Superliga matches this season.

“The Club World Championship will have a very high level of play, so we expect to perform well in India,” said middle blocker Renan Michelucci. “Our goal is to win a medal.”

Perugia and Sada debut on Thursday

The most successful teams at the Club World Championship to take part in the 2023 edition of the tournament, four-time winners Sada Cruzeiro Vôlei of Brazil and defending champions Sir Sicoma Perugia of Italy will both make their debuts on Thursday.

Sada, who are undefeated in the Brazilian Superliga with five wins and have Olympic champions Wallace de Souza (opposite) and Lucas Saatkamp (middle blocker) in their squad, will play the Sunbirds at 17:00 local time (11:30 GMT).

Defending champions Perugia made the trip to India after getting eight wins in their first nine SuperLega Credem Banca matches and will count on star setter Simone Giannelli and Polish outside hitter Wilfredo Leon to get a good result against Minas at 20:30 local time (15:00 GMT).

Pool play will continue in Bengaluru until Friday, when the top two teams in each pool will advance to the elimination rounds. The semifinals in India will be held on Saturday and the medal matches on Sunday.

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FIVB Volleyball Men's Club World Championship
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