Slovenia (SLO) vs. Netherlands (NED) men - Pool 6 - Preliminary Phase #5667813

Gregor Ropret and his Slovenian teammates celebrate during VNL 2023

Slovenian men’s national team coach Gheorghe Cretu will have the country’s best players available for the upcoming Volleyball Nations League 2024 season, through which they hope to achieve a historic qualification to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The Romanian trainer announced a roster of 17 players, including some big names that had to skip the team’s most recent competitions because of injuries.

13 of the 14 athletes that participated in the FIVB Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifiers in the fall and finished third in their pool in Japan, just below the cut-off for Paris 2024, will return to the team to start preparations for the new season on May 6 in Ljubljana. The only one missing is middle blocker Danijel Koncilija, who did not get to appear on the court during the team’s seven matches in Tokyo.

The roster features the experienced 35-year-old setter of reigning club world champions Sir Susa Vim Perugia, Gregor Ropret, who sprained his ankle during a CEV European Championship semifinal in September and missed not only the bronze medal match, which Slovenia won, but also the entire Olympic qualification tournament in Japan that followed. Dejan Vincic, who replaced Ropret on the squad back then, is also on Cretu’s list for 2024, along with playmaker Uros Planinsic.

28-year-old opposite Toncek Stern will also return to action after sitting out the entire 2023 national team season because of an injury. He will be sharing the post with rising star Nik Mujanovic.

Well-seasoned captain Tine Urnaut and star players Klemen Cebulj and Rok Mozic will lead a pack of six outside hitters. The list of middle blockers is headlined by Alen Pajenk and Jan Kozamernik, while libero Jani Kovacic will share his position with Urban Toman.

The Slovenian team will spend their entire pre-season period, training in their capital Ljubljana. They will open their VNL 2024 campaign with a game against the Netherlands on May 22. The rest of their first-week programme in the Turkish coastal city of Antalya includes matches against reigning Olympic champions and 2024 Games hosts France, Canada and reigning VNL and European champions Poland. The squad will then travel to Fukuoka for competition week two encounters with Türkiye, Brazil, hosts Japan and Bulgaria, before finishing the Preliminary Phase and the Olympic qualification process off at home in Ljubljana with crucial games against Argentina, Cuba, Italy and Serbia, hoping to qualify for both the VNL Finals in Lodz, Poland from June 27 to 30 and for the Games in Paris from July 26 to August 11.

Slovenia are currently number seven in the FIVB Volleyball World Ranking, a position that would propel them to the Games in Paris if the cut-off were today.

Slovenia men’s national team full roster (subject to eligibility check to be conducted by the FIVB):

Setters: Dejan Vincic, Gregor Ropret, Uros Planinsic
Opposites: Nik Mujanovic, Toncek Stern
Оutside hitters: Klemen Cebulj, Matej Kok, Rok Bracko, Rok Mozic, Tine Urnaut, Ziga Stern
Middle blockers: Alen Pajenk, Jan Kozamernik, Janz Janez Krzic, Saso Stalekar
Liberos: Jani Kovacic, Urban Toman

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