Volleyball Empowerment brings historic international win to Faroe Islands

CEV-FIVB : Infos jeu 8 juin 2023

The women’s national team of Faroe Islands not only made their debut in the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) European Silver League this season, but also managed to score a historic win at a continental-level competition.

After losing to Montenegro in their opening Pool B match of the first stage of the competition, the Faroese ladies hosted Georgia for their second game and thrilled the home fans in Torshavn with a 3-1 (25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 25-22) victory. Their outside hitter Birgit Guttesen showed an excellent all-around performance and emerged as the best scorer of the match with 20 points, including three blocks and an ace. In reception, she handled well 68% of the opponents’ serves directed at her.

Birgit Guttesen in action (Photo credits: cev.eu)

Within a new strategy aimed at bringing more visibility to the sport in the country and further developing the sport in the archipelago of just 55,000 inhabitants, the Faroese Volleyball Association (FBF) has been part of the FIVB Volleyball Empowerment programme, receiving coach support and knowledge transfer for its national volleyball teams in both genders since 2022. They have also received equipment support including Mikasa volleyballs, as well as a Gerflor 9mm floor in a joint Volleyball Empowerment project with the CEV.

While the Faroe Islands previously only played international matches within the zonal framework of the CEV Small Countries Association, as part of this new strategy they have started to participate in continental CEV competitions. Both the men’s and women’s national teams were involved in the 2023 European Championship qualifications last summer, and will do the same next year in the EuroVolley 2025 qualifiers. Now they are competing in the European Silver League for the first time.

“It is very important for us that we can already see some good performances in the matches and for us this is more important than the result itself. This gives us fuel to continue on the path we have already started,” said FBF President Peter Holm.

The Argentinean head coach of the Faroese women’s national team, Cristian Imhoff, added: “Since I took over as the head coach, I have been working on building up a team with a mix of a new generation of players and a few experienced ones. The task has also been to shape our own identity based on the fighting spirit of the Faroe Islands. We are on the way. There is still a long way to go, but we will manage.”

Coach Imhoff watches tensely as his teams hammers out a historic success (Photo credits: cev.eu)

“It is a nice experience stepping up on this larger volleyball stage, but being inexperienced on it we did not know what we would face,” commented the top scorer of the victory over Georgia, Birgit Guttesen. “In the first game, we suffered from a lack of matches together, but things went much better in this second game. I am now looking forward to the upcoming matches.”

“Our team is not experienced in playing matches on this large stage and this is putting some additional pressure on us, but we were happy to show that we have something to offer,” team captain Sofia Purkhus (pictured attacking in the main photo), who was the second best scorer against Georgia with 16 points, pointed out. “It was important to get the taste of victory already now as this gives us more confidence for the upcoming matches.”

Celebrating sweet victory (Photo credits: cev.eu)

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