Reigning champions Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul play their second FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship this year.
The Turkish champions have a star-studded squad including Jordan Larson Burbach, a double FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship gold medallist (also with Dinamo Kazan), and an Olympic silver (2012) and bronze medallist (2016), as well as Turkish national player Neslihan Demir.
With the new signings of middle blocker Thaisa Menezes, wing spiker Tatiana Kosheleva, and setter Maja Ognjenovic, the Turkish club have been extremely active on the transfer market. Unsurprisingly, the Turks are among the favourites to win this year's trophy too.
One of Eczacibasi VitrA's most notable squads besides last year’s gold medallists were the 1980 team that finished second in the European Champions League. Their achievements coincided with the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Turkish Republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and the team became known as 'The Daughters of Ataturk'.
At the 2016 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship in Manila, the defending FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Champions will face eleven-time Brazilian champions Rexona-Sesc Rio, hosts PSL Manila, and CEV Champions League winners Pomì Casalmaggiore.
Without doubt a very strong group, but Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul will have their eyes on a the gold medal after defeating Russia's Dinamo Krasnodar in last year's final in Zurich.
Founded in 1966, the club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Eczacibasi have won the Turkish league title a record 28 times - though not since 2012. After a silver medal in 1980 (losing to Czechoslovakia’s Red Star Prague in the final) and a bronze in 2000, Eczacibasi won the ultimate European club title in 2015, defeating Italy’s Yamamay Busto Arsizio in straight sets in the final in Szczecin, Poland. They also won the European CEV Cup in 1999.