Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Foolad Sirjan’s success predictable: Afshardoust

October 16, 2021 - 18:57

TEHRAN - Member of Iran Volleyball Federation's board of directors, Mahmoud Afshardoust, believes that Foolad Sirjan's success in the 2021 Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship was predictable but valuable.

Foolad Sirjan of Iran defeated Qatari side Al Arabi to win the Asian Club Championship on Friday.

“First of all, I congratulate Sirjan club, including the management and the staff, and also the warm-hearted and passionate people of Sirjan, especially the volleyball fans, for such a great achievement. They all deserved it for what they have done during the recent years,” said Afshardoust in an interview with Tehran Times.

The former player and coach of the Iran men's national volleyball team shared his view about the competition.

“The reality is that Iranian clubs have dominated the Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship in all the recent years and have won the trophy most of the time. This year, there was a special situation for the tournament that made it slightly different from the previous editions. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the representatives of China, Korea, and Japan didn't participate in this year's tournament, and it somehow affected the level of the competition,” he said.

“But it is clear that Foolad's success is of outstanding importance to us. It would help if you didn't forget that Thailand's Nakhon Ratchasima QminC had a lot of national team players. The Qatari side Al Arabi also benefited from high-level international players in their squad.

“Foolad had one or two players in the current Iran national team, but other players are not national players. It proves that Iran's volleyball is a major Asian power in all aspects,” he said.

“We were expecting Foolal Sirjan to win the trophy, and it was predictable. If it was the other way around, we were shocked,” Afshardoust added.

When asked about the recent debate in Iranian volleyball about using "Iranian or Foreign" coaches in national teams, the member of the board of directors of the federation said, “I support the idea that the Iranian coaches should lead the Iranian national teams. We must set aside cynicism over the Iranian coaches' ability to work with star players. They can handle their relationship with all players at the highest level.

“Iranian volleyball coaches need time to experience big international tournaments, and we should trust them and give them such a time. At the moment, the federation has chosen a good approach in this regard, and I support it,” Afshardoust concluded.

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