Slovakia Hires a New Coach in Days Before Start of World League Play

The Slovakian volleyball federation has announced Andrej Kavarik as the new head coach of the men’s National Team – replacing Miroslav Palgut. The move came on the same day Slovakia returned home after placing 2nd in their group at the European qualifier for the 2018 FIVB World Championships – behind world-ranked #23 Netherlands in a group that was without any real juggernaut.

That thrust Slovakia to the last-chance qualifier from July 18th-23rd, where they will compete with 5 other countries for the 10th and final European place for Worlds.

“It was not a simple decision,” said Slovak Volleyball Federation president Lubor Halanda. “We considered all the positive and negative sides and we concluded that for the next team preparation change is key and the team needs a new impulse. The reason for the change was the unconvincing performance of our team in the world championship qualification tournament in The Netherlands.”

Kravarik had been serving as an assistant with the team prior to the promotion – a tenure that had survived the tenure of three head coaches (Stefan Chrtiansky, Alberto Giuliani, and Palgut). The 46-year old had a long pro career in Europe, including 3 times as a Champions League finalist with Irakis in Greece and 5 times as a Greek champion with the same club. He himself was a member of the Czechoslovakian National Team at the 1993 European champions, and then after the country split up with Czechia was on the Slovakian teams in 1997 and 2001. He then switched nationalities and represented Greece at the 2004 Olympic Games and 2006 World Championships, plus the 2005 and 2007 European Championships.

At the club level, he’s coached Aris Thessaloniki and Nestor Thessaloniki in Greece’s 2nd division.

This weekend will be Kavarik’s first test as head coach when Slovakia hosts a site of Group 2 (the second tier) of the FIVB World League. They will welcome in world #14 Japan, #15 Australia, and #26 Portugal for a 3-day double-round-robin.

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