FIVB.com caught up with Earvin Ngapeth while he is still recovering from an abdominal injury
Lausanne, Switzerland, June 11, 2017 – France
are the current leaders of the Group 1 ranking in the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World League. After five matches played, they are the only team still unbeaten in the group. And the French squad has achieved this fantastic run even though the biggest star of the team, Earvin Ngapeth
, has not been playing because of an abdominal injury.
But the French superstar, who says he expects to be back playing for France in 10 days, is clear, this is just the beginning of great things to come for the French national volleyball team.
“I think we can do everything with this team," Ngapeth said. "We can win everything, ... even the Olympic Games, we make a medal in Paris, I am sure, we can win everything.”
Of course, France has been one of the form sides in men's international volleyball, winning the World League in 2015 and the European Championship the same year before a somewhat disappointing ninth place finish at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
And Ngapeth has been the man leading most of France's special moments. The 2015 World League MVP is a magicien on the court, attracting fans from all ages with some of his wizardry play.
But with Laurent Tillie at the helm and the nucleus of the French age-group winning team in the side, the future is very bright for the Tricolour.
“With 80% of the team, we started in volleyball together. We were in the youth national team. We won two European titles with this generation. We have a family-like atmosphere in our group. We have played together for 15 years,” he says. “Moments of difficulty make us stronger. This is very important for us.”
The statement is clear – volleyball is a team sport and a team is strong not because of a single strong player, but as a collective.
Ngapeth himself seems to agree with this. He takes advantage of the off time to contemplate about his team, his job, his sport, his Olympic dream and the joy he gets from playing volleyball.
“We take volleyball as a game, as a pleasure. We take pleasure to come to training. We take pleasure to play volleyball.
"We are also so happy to play for France. We are so happy to take photos with the fans. We try to work with the fans, with the journalists,” the 26-year-old outside spiker continues. “We want to make French volleyball at the top of sports in France. It is not easy, because all sports in France are so strong. But we are so happy that the hall is full - it is very good for volleyball in France.”
Earvin Ngapeth working hard on his recovery
Ngapeth is still making headlines in the French sports paper L'Equipe even when he's not playing
Of course, Earvin Ngapeth is counting the days to the moment he will be back on the court with his teammates again. “I had this abdominal problem three weeks ago and I need 10 days more before I can start playing volleyball again.”
Whether or not he will be able to rejoin the squad for the last weekend of the pool stage in the World League remains to be seen, but he has enough time to recover before July’s Final Round in Brazil, where the 2015 World League winners undoubtedly are heading.
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