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21/02/2018 - 07:00hs

A Brazilian coaches Morocco’s volleyball team

The São Paulo-born Augusto Sabbatini moved to Rabat this year. He will coach the men’s national team, as well as scout new talent and work with local colleagues and teachers.

São Paulo – Late last year, as Morocco’s National Volleyball Team played the African Championship, the man in charge of coaching it was a Brazilian. This year, he moved to the Arab country, tasked with making the sport more popular and improving its level among Moroccans. His name’s Augusto Sabbatini.

Press Release

Sabbatini (center) and the Moroccan national team

With a background in Brazil and elsewhere, Sabbatini was invited to work in Morocco as part of a project of the Moroccan Volleyball Federation and the International Volleyball Federation. Besides leading the national team, he will travel the country scouting new talent and working with teachers and coaches to improve and standardize teaching methods to create a new generation of highly skilled players.

A native of Taquaritinga, São Paulo, Sabbatini has coached teams in other Arab and Muslim nations, such as Kuwait, Qatar and Pakistan. He believes this was a factor in his being chosen. “This is a passion turned work, this is what moves me,” he says of the fulfilment he derives from teaching and coaching volleyball players around the world, Morocco included.

During last year’s African Championship, held in in October in Egypt, Sabbatini was called upon in a hurry, and only had 15 days to work before the event began. He recalls that that team didn’t “look like him.” Sabbatini has big plans for the team he’s coaching, and claims Moroccans have a good body type for a sport like volleyball. “They’re tall, they’re strong,” he says.

After the tournament in Egypt, Sabbatini came back to Brazil. He moved to Morocco for good this year and started working some 20 days ago. He will be based in Rabat; he’s been to Meknès and Al Jadida, and is slated to go to cities including Agadir next. “I’m making technical evaluations, speaking to coaches,” he says. The goal is to have teachers and coaches all embrace the same methodology.

Press Release

The coach has worked in Kuwait and Qatar

Sabbatini will coach the men’s adult indoor volleyball team, but his work across the country will also include beach volleyball. The national team will not play any international matches this year, so he believes he’ll have time to make assessments and adaptations, working with feedback from the October matches.

Sabbatini is enjoying life in Morocco, which he has found to be a fairly liberal country, despite being a Muslim one. Volleyball and basketball are tied in second when it comes to national sports preferences, trailing soccer. The Brazilian coach communicates with the players in English, but he’s planning to learn French, which is widespread in the country.

Before Morocco, Sabbatini had been working on developing volleyball in Caribbean islands. He has a long track record, including Myanmar, Nigeria, Kuwait, Vietnam, Pakistan, Trinidad & Tobago, India and Qatar. He started his career as a player in his hometown. Sabbatini eventually accepted an invitation for an assistant coach position and never looked back.

His titles include second place in the 2010 South Asian Games coaching Pakistan’s national men’s team, first place in the 2006 South Asian Games with India, and first place in the 2004/2005 Qatar National Volleyball League as assistant coach of Al Arabi Sports Club’s men’s team.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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