01. 04. 2019

Kovač for WoV: “I highly doubt that I will stay in Belogorie for the next season“

Source: Photo: cev.eu

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In his playing career, Slobodan Kovač had many victorious moments recognized internationally. One Olympic and one EuroVolley gold medal are certainly among them. As a head coach, he waited for 11 years to lift a trophy in some European competition.


The Serbian expert Slobodan Kovač led Belogorie Belgorod to win the only European title in their club history which they failed to claim earlier - the CEV Challenge Cup. And he did it in his first season at the helm of the Russian powerhouse. However, as he revealed in an interview for our website, it might also be his last season there...

Let's get back to winning the 2019 CEV Challenge Cup. How did this road look like from your point of view?

“Up to the semifinals, I played with the combined squad, young players, because the quality of the opponents was such that I could afford it. Then came the tough match against Benfica Lisbon, a team that is full of Portuguese national team players and experienced Brazilians. It was a serious game. We played poorly on the road, but we were excellent in the golden set. I was a bit afraid of the matches against Monza because they play well on the road. They were able to beat some of the favorites in Italy in away games. They have young, aggressive, good players. Some of them are highly wanted in the volleyball market. They have two opposite hitters of equal quality and they also have Orduna who is one of the best setters in the world. We were mentally strong. This was a great success, and the fact that five of my players were summoned to the preliminary list of Russia national team shows how good we played.“

This is your first season as a head coach in the Russian Championship. It is no secret that it is a very strong competition...

„The quality of the league is high. It's extremely hard to play. Trips are exhausting. First, the distance between the cities is big, and there's also a different time zone. You arrive today, you play already tomorrow. It even happened that you arrive at 5 AM, sleep the night, and play tomorrow. For those who play in Russia for the first time, it's hard. Zenit Kazan are chipped as Fakel beat them in the Club World Championship but also in the league. Zenit Saint Petersburg is a team against whom is highly difficult to play. Kuzbass is a team that has been built for a few years continuously. Dinamo Moscow also have good players. We are among the favorites for the title, too. We can play on an equal footing with everyone including Fakel in the upcoming playoff games. It's noticeable that our fans have a volleyball tradition, they understand the game well. It's interesting that you can see elders in the stands when we play at home. We never had less than 2,000 or 3,000 fans in the stands. There were packed stands in the rematch against Monza.“

What about next season? Do you plan to stay in Belogorie or not?

„I have a clause in my contract saying that I am not allowed to negotiate with other clubs before the season ends, but I highly doubt that I will stay in Belogorie for the next season. I was offered to take over Russia national team but it didn’t happen. I was shortlisted with three more candidates. I was even called by the General Secretary of the Russian Federation, Aleksandr Yaremenko. Knowing that he gave me only three days to compose my plan and send résumé since that is how much time was left before they choose the new head coach, I said it was too little time for something like that. Then, they have chosen Sammelvuo. I know him for a long time, he is a great person and a coach. I immediately congratulate him for being elected Russia national team head coach.“


Check out more interviews.


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1 Comments about "Kovač for WoV: “I highly doubt that I will stay in Belogorie for the next season“"

06.04.2019 | 15:57 |   METHUES [unregistered]

So...Kovac is upset about Russia ?

+1            0-

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Latest comments

POL M: Young Australian coach Reynolds will command Jastrzębski next season

All this because volleyball is not e real professional sport and many clubs are managed with people with (almost) zero experience and knowledge in volleyball. And they manage money from state companies or government directly. Do not expect that that people will think differently. That is why volleyball will never move to another level and will always have some small “make up” in the future Reply

POL M: Young Australian coach Reynolds will command Jastrzębski next season

Many Strength and Conditioning Coaches/Scoutman are trying to get into coaching. Due to their lack of experience and knowledge, at first, they take a major pay cut in comparison to actual volleyball coaches. Currently, coaching jobs are paying very little, even in the top leagues, and some of the experienced coaches are not taking jobs for 25.000-40.000 EUR, knowing that demands are just as high as before when they were making double of this salary. Unfortunately, club leaderships see coaches as a disposable matter and therefore keep dropping salaries because there are candidates that will take these jobs. I am not here to judge, just to describe some of the dynamics around this profession. Reply

POL M: Young Australian coach Reynolds will command Jastrzębski next season

Interesting trend, that some coaches who specialised on physical training, some who never played volleyball on top level, became pretty successful volleyball coaches. It can be observed in some menś and women teams. It reflects a situation that volleyball has become a very physical sport. Even the world champion country, which in past had taught others, needs coaches from abroad who come into this category. Reply