FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup: Teams, Schedule, Viewing, And Possible Storylines

Before the 2024 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup kicks off, here’s what you need to know about this exciting tournament.

International volleyball fever continues in the Philippines, this time with the upcoming FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup for Women set to take place from July 4 to 7. For Filipino fans, this will also be their first glimpse of Alas Pilipinas at home ever since their historic AVC Challenge Cup run two months ago. 

With that tournament on the horizon, here’s what you need to know about the Volleyball Challenger Cup (VCC).

What’s at stake and who will be competing? 

First established in 2019, the Volleyball Challenger Cup is a qualifier for the Volleyball Nations League, wherein one VNL spot is reserved for the VCC’s winner. However, this year’s competition is set to be the last of its kind, given the VNL’s pending expansion in 2025. 

Including the Philippines, eight countries will be in the Volleyball Challenger Cup. Here’s the rest:

  • Argentina
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Kenya
  • Puerto Rico
  • Sweden
  • Vietnam

Rosters, meanwhile, can be viewed here. For the Philippines at least, most of the AVC Challenge Cup core was retained for the Volleyball Challenger Cup, but with Creamline’s Jema Galanza and NU’s Bella Belen now in the mix. 

Based on an FIVB release, Chery Tiggo’s Eya Laure and Jen Nierva will be out for the VCC alongside Belen’s partner Aly Solomon who continues to recover from minor injury.

What’s the schedule and format? 

As mentioned, Volleyball Challenger Cup action kicks off this Thursday, July 4, starting with Kenya and Puerto Rico’s face-off at 3:00 PM, and Belgium versus Sweden at 6:30 PM (all in Philippine time). 

Czech Republic and Argentina will kick off Friday’s (July 5) action also at 3:00 PM, while Alas Pilipinas will open their campaign against Asian powerhouse Vietnam at 6:30 PM. 

Semifinal rounds will be played on Saturday, July 6, while the battle for third, and final matches will be held on Sunday, July 7. Pending any changes, all matches will remain scheduled at 3 PM and 6:30 PM on these days. 

A knockout format will be in play at the VCC, meaning every game will be win-or-go-home situation for each team. Unlike the AVC Challenge Cup as well, there will be no classification matches for early exits. 

Where, and how can I watch the games?

All VCC matches will be played at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, which is part of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila which also houses the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.

Tickets may be purchased through TicketMax at the following prices: P300 for upper box, P550 for lower box, P800 for patron, and P1050 for courtside.  

One Sports and Pilipinas Live will also provide VCC coverage for those at home or on the go. Even better, Alas’ Vietnam match will be free on Pilipinas Live this Friday as well!

Any storylines to look forward to? 

The Philippines’ VCC for Women hosting takes place amid volleyball’s meteoric rise on home soil. This, on top of their AVC run, means all eyes will be on Alas Pilipinas as they stand their ground against reigning AVC queens Vietnam on Friday. 

As mentioned, Alas will also enter with two new faces in Belen and Galanza. As of this writing, the latter will now remain an opposite hitter, with middle blocker Cherry Nunag being turned into the second libero behind Dawn Macandili-Catindig.

Aside from local storylines, it’s safe to say that we’ll be treated to some high-level volleyball starting this Thursday. After all, these squads qualified through winning international tournaments, or by being the best in their respective confederations. 

Banner Image courtesy of the Asian Volleyball Confederation.

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