BRAZILIAN coach Jorge Edson Souza De Brito won't be coming in blind, having watched videos of Philippine volleyball before accepting the FIVB assignment to be part of the country's national team program.
The former Brazilian player and coach said he watched videos of the Philippine campaign in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and just recently, on the national team tryouts in Subic that were uploaded on social media last week.
“I’m very happy to have this chance to come to the Philippines, it’s an honor,” said Jorge, who said he can be both a 'monster and a father' as a coach. “I love volleyball and I love the passion Filipinos have for volleyball.
"They love the sport so much — and there are a lot of fans.”
Jorge said he learned about the country from Leila Barros, the charming former Brazilian star who became a darling to Filipino fans when she played for the Brazilian national team in the FIVB Grand Prix that Manila hosted in August 2000.
“Leila once told me that if ever it struck my mind to move elsewhere, I should be moving to the Philippines,” Souza de Brito said. Barros is now a senator in Brazil.
Souza de Brito has two Olympic titles to his name — as a player in Barcelona 1992 and as an assistant coach of the Brazilian women’s team in Beijing 2008. Only two coaches were allowed to join the team in China and he had to be left behind.
“I want to repeat that feeling again — in the Philippines, in the SEA Games,” he said.
The FIVB pegged his first day of his two-year contract on July 1. He will be working with national women’s team coach, the veteran Odjie Mamon, and his assistants Tai Bundit and Grace Antigua.
“Coach Jorge has to have time to transition from his family and from his job as coach of Brazilian club Clube Duque de Caxias, which he has been mentoring since February last year,” Philippine National Volleyball Federation president Ramon “Tats” Suzara said.
“I will do my best to help Philippine volleyball and I expect to see good players getting involved in the project,” he said. “We will try to get the best from what we can do and make a new page in history.”
The goal is to get the team ready for the Asian Women’s Championship the PNVF is expected to host in August and more importantly, the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi in November.
Souza de Brito said he doesn’t expect the team to be battle-ready for the Asian championships but vowed the squad will be close to lethal for the Hanoi SEA Games.
“It’s too early to make a change for the Asian championship, but for November, it would be different,” he said. “Four months is actually not enough a time, but we’ll do our best, some changes will happen.”
Souza de Brito is familiar with the Asian volleyball scene, having coached Japan in the 2006 FIVB Women’s World Cup and mentored the Korean Air Jumbos, a men’s team, in the Korean league from 2015 to 2016.
For his Philippine sortie, Souza de Brito has already set his goal.
“We build a new one, a new order,” he said, adding he would be adjusting his plans to suit Philippine, Southeast Asian and Asian volleyball.
“Each country or continent has its own way of playing volleyball and it’s impossible to change everything,” he said. “But I’m looking forward to make the team stronger and make the athletes understand the sport better. We all have to work altogether so we can see what kind of volleyball we can produce.”