Adapted form Rahim Rahimzadeh
When Igor Kolakovic, head coach of the Iranian team, was asked about his views generally on the Men’s Nations League, its performances, the formula of the championship, traveling to many countries, and playing at home in Azadi in front of 12,000 local fans, this was his response:
“VNL is the most strenuous competition in the history of volleyball, and perhaps in the history of team sports. We need to play 15 matches in five different tournaments on five different continents in 29 days. A competition like this has never been played before, so nobody knows how it will look or what consequences it will have, especially on the health of the players. No one has experience in preparing a team for this competition either. We worked very hard and we will see at the end of the VNL how good it was. The Iran team consists of several young players, including cadet world champions from last year, and they will soon be a great force for Iranian volleyball. I am sure that in this year’s season, they will show their quality and talent.
Our opponents are the 15 best teams in the world and each one is a great opponent for us. Every match will be hard fought. There are not big differences between the teams, but this new formula of competition is not the same for everyone. Some teams, such as Iran, are constantly jumping from continent to continent, and some, like Serbia, for example, play three tournaments in Europe, and do not have to travel far. Long journeys and changing time zones are our biggest obstacles. We look forward to the tournament in Tehran where we will play in front of the full hall in the Azadi complex. It’s a real privilege for every athlete and we do not care about who we are going to play, but it’s important for us to do our best and win in front of our fans.”