May 22, 2022

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Iran volleyball deserve more success: Amir Ghafour

TEHRAN – Iranian international opposite spiker Amir Ghafour says the National Volleyball Team can attain more achievements in the years ahead.

Italy’s Cucine Lube Civitanova player returned to Tehran last week and joined his family following his negative test for COVID-19 after a two-day quarantine in a hotel in Tehran.

In an interview, he talked about various issues, including Iran’s status and coach.

“This team certainly has the potential to achieve more success and deserve it because many have worked hard for it,” Ghafour told Varzesh3 website on Tuesday after arriving in Iran.

Iran’s No. 10 joined the SuperLega and European Champions 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 Iran’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 the Italian Volleyball League.

“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 would bring both advantages and disadvantages. “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 more time to 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 over 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, Ghafour said that he cannot talk about the future for the moment since this is not a normal situation.

“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 my next team.”
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