27-year old opposite Dawid Konarski has signed to play next season with Ziraat Bankasi Ankara in the Turkish League, leaving Polish squad ZAKSA after two seasons – including what he believes is the best in his career last year.
Konarski was named the best opposite and MVP of the 2017 Polish Cup while leading his squad to dual Polish Cup and Polish Championship titles.
This means that he’ll be leaving a club bound for Europe’s top club tournament, the Champions League, for one that did not qualify, Ziraat, after finishing just 3rd in the Turkish League this year.
IN an interview with Przeglad Sportowy, he said that the champions league was not a main factor in his decision. “With the Turkish team, we will be in the CEV Cup (Europe’s second-highest tournament) where we want to get as far as possible. First of all, I am happy to gain a new experience. From mid-March, I got the idea in my head that if I get an interesting offer from abroad, I would try to leave.
“I knew that in the PlusLiga, there was not much more I could do except repeating titles, so I didn’t want to regret later that I did not take advantage of this opportunity and spent my whole career in the domestic league.”
Konarski said that he was in very advanced talks with both Japan (rumored to be Toyoda) and Asseco Resovia in the Polish League.
Konarski was rated as the 4th-best opposite in the Polish League last season, and his 455 points in just 27 games in the regular season (out of a possible 30) ranked him 8th in the league. A full season at that pace would have moved him up to 4th.
Konarski’s most imminent task is as a member of Poland’s 18-member World League team. He also spoke with Przeglad about the experiences with new coach Ferdinando de Giorgi of Italy. De Giorgi has already implemented a new culture, Konarski says, that includes a sense of community. That includes common meals among the team at a single long table, with no cellphones allowed, and rigid hours of training. Konarski says that practice doesn’t start 5 minutes early or 15 minutes late, but exactly at the time it’s determined to start. He says that there is a “symbolic fee” for being late, but that “a conversation with the coach is much worse than any punishments.”
“Coach di Giorgi strives for perfection, focuses on the details,” Konarski said. “You lay down strict rules at the beginning, and over time we will gradually move away from them. With this coach, if someone or something doesn’t fit, you are with us or you are not.
Poland begins their World League play in Pesaro, Italy from June 2nd-4th.