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Iran volleyball expert hits out at federation for lack of foresight

TEHRAN – Iranian volleyball expert Javad Mohtashamian believes that lack of foresight caused the crisis in the 2024 Volleyball Nations League (VNL).

Team Melli have suffered eight consecutive losses in the first two weeks.

“What goes around, comes around. We used to have experienced players like Saeid Marouf and Mohammad Mousavi, but how many young players were injected into the national team alongside them?” Mohtashamian said in an interview with Tehran Times.

Mohtashamian criticized former Team Melli coach Igor Kolakovic’s approach, particularly his reliance on a limited group of players. (Kolacovic led Iran from 2017 to 2020.)

“Kolakovic started the VNL with eight players and finished with the same eight,” he noted. “Except for Russia and Poland, there were weaker teams in the tournament and Kolakovic could have given young players opportunities against these teams. Mehdi Mahdavi was the second setter on the national team but never played a full match in 10 years.”

The volleyball expert believes Iranian volleyball, especially at the national team level, lacks a long-term vision. “If we had thought about the future of volleyball, we wouldn’t have ended up in this situation,” he stated. “We had great players like Marouf, Mousavi, Ghafour, and Mahmoudi, but we didn’t allow new players to play alongside them,” he added.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Volleyball Federation (IRIVF) recently sacked Brazilian coach Mauricio Motta Paes, a decision Mohtashamian questioned. “We hired a coach two weeks ahead of the 2024 VNL to qualify for the Olympics, even though everyone knew it was a difficult task,” he said. “Another coach had selected and trained the team and knew the players, but the responsibility was given to a new coach who didn’t trust anyone but his own staff. The coach should have come earlier. Our team lost eight matches in the VNL because the coach didn’t know his players. The federation made a mistake by contracting a foreign coach and now blames him for all the losses,” he concluded.

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