0753 GMT February 25, 2021
Two head coaches from Russia and Argentina have been shortlisted to take charge of Iran’s national team, said Mohammadreza Davarzani, the president of Iran Volleyball Federation.
Iran’s job has been vacant since former manager Igor Kolakovic parted ways with the Asian powerhouse in April.
The Montenegrin led Iran to a second consecutive spot at the Olympic Games – after a last-eight finish in Rio 2016.
Multiple sources have suggested in recent weeks that Russian Vladimir Alekno is the top candidate for Iran’s managerial role.
The 53-year-old Russian steered his country to the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London – having won the bronze in Beijing 2008.
His Russian team also won the gold at the World League, now called Volleyball Nations League, and the FIVB World Cup in 2011.
“The [federation’s] Technical Committee is to decide between the Russian and Argentine head coach within next week,” Davarzani told the state-run Radio Varzesh on Tuesday, though he refused to give away names of the two.
“The new manager will be in Iran in late March to start his job,” the head of country’s volleyball governing body said.
Davarzani added that the next head coach, whoever that might be, already has a full analysis of Iran’s 30-man squad [in recent tournaments], as “there will be no room for inexperienced players” in a competition of Olympics’ caliber.
Iran is pitted in Pool A of the volleyball competition at next summer’s Tokyo Games alongside the host nation Japan, Poland, Italy – the silver medalist in Rio 2016 – Canada, and Venezuela.
Pool B will see the defending champion Brazil, USA, Russia, Argentina, France, and Tunisia squaring off for four spots in the quarterfinals.