By Farrokh Hesabi

Volleyball coach Mehregan optimistic about Iran at Tokyo

June 30, 2021 - 18:4

TEHRAN - The 2021 Volleyball Nations League (VNL) was a disastrous competition for Iran, where Vladimir Alekno’s team were ranked 12th in the tournament. The position has worried many, including experts and fans.

That’s a big loss for a team whose desire and ideal goal is to reach the top four in the 2020 Olympic Games.

Javad Mehregan, Iranian volleyball expert and current head coach of Kuwaiti side Al Arabi SC, believes that instead of worrying about the national team's results in the VNL, we should be alert and careful about the Olympics’ results.

Accepting all the national team's weaknesses, Mehregan said to Tehran Times: “We should not ignore the team’s weak points, nor should we exaggerate them.”

“It’s the time to solve the problems and shortcomings of the national team with a recovery plan. I think the mentality of the players determines the ideal goal of a team. Our team have learned lessons from the VNL, and now we must use them for the Olympics. If everything goes well, I am optimistic about the team’s results in Tokyo 2020,” Mehregan said.

In his first days in charge of Iran’s national team, Alekno faced a huge challenge that led to criticism against his tactical approach and line-up selection.

Iran finished the 2021 VNL in 12th place after winning five out of 15 matches. Alekno’s side stood above Germany, Netherlands, Bulgaria, and Australia with 18 points.

“The Iranian players are very different from the Russians. Therefore, although Alekno is an experienced and knowledgeable coach, he needs to be advised in terms of Iranians’ behavioral, moral, and cultural characteristics and qualities.

“He should be aware of how Iranian players react in difficult situations. So, the Iran Volleyball Federation should be more in touch with Alekno and help him in this regard,” added the head coach of Al Arabi.

Mehregan believes that at least two friendly games are necessary for the national team before the team enter the Olympics: “Apart from the friendly games, Alkeno should have some meetings with the players in person to know them better.”

Iran have been drawn along with giants Poland and Italy and hosts Japan as well as Canada and Venezuela in Pool A of the 2020 Olympic Games. The Persians start the tournament with the game against Poland on 24 July.