The VNL is a tournament where old and new foes alike go at it against each other. If on one side, we have recent rivalries brewing, on the other, old match-ups spring into light. They are not limited to the players either, as most coaches at court side are longtime rivals as well.
The recent game that pitted Brazil against Korea saw such a match up. coaches Kim Ho-Chul and Renan Dal Zotto dazzled fans in Italy’s A1 league back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Ho-Chul, a setter, was A1’s MVP three times and a two time champion, while Renan, an outside hitter, also won two scudettos. On a curious note, both players won titles with Parma, but at different times. Renan and Ho-Chul also went head to head in international competitions as well, as Ho-Chul’s Korean team handed Renan’s Brazil a 3-1 defeat in the group stage of the 1984 LA Games, when Brazil went on to win its first volleyball Olympic medal (silver).
Both players commented on what it was like to meet each other again (Globo.com):
“I think it has been more than 30 years since I last came to Brazil. Maybe it was the mid-1980s. But I’m really happy to be back and find some old friends and see teams that are very strong, stronger than us. I know it is difficult, but we will try to reach the standard of play that Brazil has, for example. It’s always an honor to run a team. We know it takes a while to get the team to develop. But let’s try our best. As for Renan, he was a great player and he is a great guy. It’s so cool to see him again. At that time, he was playing against me, and I was scared to see him in front of me. He was one of the best in the world. We talked little, but we’ll soon have some time to talk more.” – Ho-Chul
“Kim was one of the greatest setters of all time. I had the opportunity to play alongside him in two all star games. Against him, I played many matches. If I had to list my top 5 setters, he would certainly be on the list. Even though he was very short, he always carried Korea on his back, as he did with all teams he played in.” – Renan
At the end, Renan got the best out of his old foe, with Brazil handing Korea a quick 3-0 defeat (25 – 21, 25 – 19, 25 – 19). It’s not the same stage as the Olympics, but even 34 years later, a loss avenged is a loss avenged.