Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Shahrdari Urmia have a challenging season ahead: coach

October 26, 2021 - 18:16

TEHRAN - Mohammadreza Tondravan, Shahrdari Urmia Volleyball team head coach, believes that his side have a difficult task ahead in the new season of Iran's Volleyball Super League (VSL).

Tondravan won the Iran’s Volleyball Super League last season with Foolad Sirjan and now, after joining the Urmia-based squad, wants to extend his successful run with his new team.

On the first day of VSL, his side beat Rahyab Melal 3-1 in a hard-fought game.

“The first weeks in the leagues all over the world are difficult. Most of the teams have some changes in their squad and sometimes in their coaching staff, and it leads to lack of coordination between the players,” said Tondravan in his interview with Tehran Times.

“For this reason, the condition of the teams is unknown in the first weeks, and it is not possible to speak with certainty about the strengths and weaknesses of them and the ones who are favorites to win the title,” he added.

Speaking about Shahrdari Urmia, the team which finished runners-up last season, the 44-year-old coach said: “We have some injured players such as Aliasghar Mojarad. Moreover, players like Saeid Mostafavand, Saber Kazemi, and Alireza Behboudi have recently joined our training camp and later than the rest of the players. So, we had little time to practice and review our tactical plan with the full squad.”

Kazemi and Behboudi played for Foolad at the 2021 Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship and joined their new team after the competition.

“It was a big problem for us because we didn't have our key players. Of course, it was based on the rules and the federation's statues that the players had to play for their former team till the end of the Asian Club Championship. However, in my opinion, this law should be changed,” Tondravan insisted.

When asked about the schedule of the new season of the league, he responded: “The problem is that we do not have a complete schedule of games, including second-leg games and playoffs. Playing two matches in a week is also problematic in our country that has long distances between cities. However, I'm aware that the organizers of the super league also have some restrictions on the timing and scheduling of matches, and I understand their condition.”

Tondravan knows how difficult is his job in the current season: “All the teams are motivated against us and want to get the best result against the runners-up of the last season. Shahrdari have a tough job ahead this season, and all the players are completely ready for a challenging season.”

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