News ID: 322402
Published: 1032 GMT June 20, 2022

Iran up for fresh start in Volleyball Nations League

Iran up for fresh start in Volleyball Nations League
FIVB

Sports Desk

Iran will be looking to wipe the slate clean when resuming action for Week 2 of the Volleyball Nations League in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Coming off a straight-set defeat against Japan in Brasilia, Brazil, Behrouz Ataei’s men will take on Bulgaria on Tuesday, before squaring off against two of the favorites for this year’s title in USA and Brazil.

Iran will conclude the second week with an encounter against Canada on Saturday.

Ataei’s young and new-look team got off to winning start in Week 1, beating China in four sets, but fell to a straight-set loss to the Netherlands, before getting back to winning ways against Australia, again in a four setter.

However, an under-par performance against Japan hinted at the massive rebuild job on Ataei’s hands as he and his players have already been facing a shift of power in the Asian volleyball.

Since taking over from Russian coach Vladimir Alekno after last year’s Tokyo Olympics, Ataei has insisted on numerous occasions that he is willing to bring in fresh blood into the squad as he eyes success with the country at the Paris Olympics in two years’ time.

New Iranian captain Milad Ebadipour echoed his coach’s view on Sunday, saying: “We’ll surely be thrilled by every victory, but, as I’ve said before, we’re not here for results.

“Top priority for some of the players in the squad is to gain experience, as they will have to get a taste of what it’s like to face top-notch opponents in tough circumstances,” said the Iranian outside hitter.

“I still believe we can do much better in Week 2,” added Ebadipour.

Ataei has made a couple of changes to the squad for the Bulgaria visit, as opposite spiker Bardia Sa’adat and Amir-Reza Sarlak will replace Saber Kazemi, who has left the trip for technical reasons, and injured middle blocker Reza Abedini.

Bulgaria will walk into Tuesday’s game on the back of four successive defeats which have left the European side second from bottom in the 16-team table.

 

   
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