Iran volleyball deserve more success: Amir Ghafour

TEHRAN, Apr. 21 (MNA) – Iranian international opposite spiker Amir Ghafour says the National Volleyball Team can attain more achievements in the years ahead.

“This team certainly has the potential to realize bigger achievements and it has the right to succeed because many have worked hard for it,” Ghafour told Varzesh3 website on Tuesday after arriving in Iran.

Team Melli’s No. 10 joined the Series A and European Champion, Italy’s Lube, last year for a one-year contract. After having months of success with the team, he suffered an injury that sidelined him for more than three months. The treatment process started in late 2019 and so he missed Team Melli’s matches in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers. When Ghafour was recovered and ready to repeat his super-spikes, coronavirus hit the world and hit Italy harder, leading to the cancelation of Series A.

It is less than a week than Ghafour has returned to Tehran and has been allowed to join his family following his negative test for COVID-19 after a two-day quarantine in a hotel in Tehran. In the interview, he talked about various issues, including Team Melli’s status and coach.

“Unfortunately, I missed the Olympics qualifiers due to the injury. It was a very important tournament and very hard for me to watch the matches from TV,” he said, referring to AVC Men’s Tokyo Volleyball Qualification which was held in China in mid-January and ended with Iran’s winning of the second consecutive quota to the Olympics.

Now that the Olympics has been postponed at least for a year, Ghafour says this postponement may both benefit and harm the team. “Being away from training and matches will lead to a reduction in readiness; it is true that some training can be carried out at homes but those are not enough for a professional athlete. On the other hand, the postponement gives us the opportunity to better recover from injuries.”

He then pointed to the change of coaches in the national team. The Iranian federation decided to terminate Igor Kolakovic’s contract with mutual consent due to the postponement of major volleyball events in 2020. The officials are still assessing different foreign and Iranian options for the seat.

“Before saying anything I should thank Kolakovic because he worked hard for the team in the past three years,” Ghafour said. “I hope that the best decision would be made for the team’s future” so that Team Melli would further improve.

Asked about his club career, he said that he cannot talk about the future for the moment “As conditions are not normal”. “I had a one-year contract with Lube and future is not clear,” he said, noting that many clubs have suffered financial damages due to the outbreak. “We should first hope that conditions would return to normal and then I will think about which team to sign with.”

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