01. 04. 2020

INTERVIEW: Emanuele Zanini - "The coronavirus will leave a huge impact, not only on the volleyball"

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It is hard to talk about volleyball when the whole world stopped because of the rapid spread of coronavirus pandemic, but here we are with a head coach of Croatia’s men national team, Emanuele Zanini.


Before the COVID-19 took a hard swing all around the world, a 54-year old Italian expert was newly appointed as a head coach of Polish club Asseco Resovia.

As an Italian born in the region hit the hardest by coronavirus in Italy, Lombardy, what is your outlook on the whole situation in Italy? When do you suppose the nation will start its healing process?

I am very sad and worried about the situation in the world, especially about my region Lombardy. I can only hope that soon we will “beat this enemy” by following the rules and staying home, as I can tell the number of infected people in Italy is slowly decreasing.”

How do you spend your days in quarantine? Did you manage to return to your family in Italy or have stayed in Poland?

Unfortunately, I am still in Resovia because there are no flights and the borders are closed. So I created a daily routine to keep me occupied. My routine consists of analyzing volleyball markets in search of young talented players, studying the French language, preparing my thesis for my next Master's Degree in Sport Management. Also, I read a lot of books, listen to music, watch movies in the evening and workout from home or along the riverside. Obviously my routine wouldn’t be complete without maintaining everyday contact with my family and friends.”

What impact will this situation have on the volleyball world, will it recover in time? All the leagues and international competitions have been canceled or postponed, even the Olympics were postponed for the next year.

The coronavirus spread will leave a huge impact, not only on the volleyball but on the whole world in general. Our health, freedom and habits have been compromised and we must prepare for the huge economic impact that it will have on all of us. In Poland, PlusLiga has been canceled as the leagues in several other countries, so I think the same will happen with the Italian national league. Postponing the Olympics was a correct decision, considering the difficulties we are facing.”


As your contract with Asseco Resovia is until the end of this season, does this mean your adventure in Poland is unfortunately over?

I came to Poland to manage the club for the final part of the season, but unfortunately after 25 days coronavirus stopped my work. They offered me the position for the next season, but I decided to honor my agreement with the Croatian Volleyball Federation. Despite that, I offered them my consulting services in regards to creating a roster for the next season, so I can only say that our relationship remained professional and fair.”

Busy summer was ahead for Croatias men national team, as you were supposed to lead them in Silver League and qualifications for EuroVolley 2021. In your opinion, is there a chance that European qualifications will still be held in August?

“Our plan for this summer was already in motion, but these unfortunate events postponed everything. I hope that the European qualifications will still be held in August, but we will have to wait for CEV’s decision.”

What is your advice for all the volleyball players on how to stay in shape, both physically and mentally?

Well, physically they must retain self-control and discipline by doing daily workout and taking care of their nutrition program. Technical aspects of the training will be very hard to reach because for that you need a court, net, teammates, etc. For mental preparation I would suggest watching past volleyball games, learning from their mistakes, keeping their focus and spirits up.”

Volleyball aside, what is the most important lesson you learned from this unfortunate situation in the world?

I am still learning a lot of things from this great lesson in life, so when it finishes I will let everyone know.”

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By Mark Lebedew: The Best Player You Might Have Heard Of...but have probably forgotten

Older video, records and analyses, editing, research by Mark Lebedew are very interesting. I take his work as priceless.. No one else do such a work...He provides us with many volleyball jewels, observations.. In past we often could not see many top tournaments, or matches on TV ….There was no Internet, no YT. Only very limited TV ... We often did not know the background, problems on some tournaments - see e.g. what happened during Italy vs Netherlands OG 1992, on M.L. YT channel, and how it had influenced a final with Brazil..
In time of pandemic, we can take a lesson from some former activities on courts . In past there was a much more decent behaviour during matches, avoiding useless personal contacts , no so and such intimacy as nowadays, no expressive shouting as is a current rule after killing spike or blocks, ourts... Only at the end of the match, tournaments emotions were same as now... (Now we see on 75 and more the useless, risky, ritual teamś hugging per a match) .. Moreover until 1998, volleyball was for TV fans very friendly - due to of a perfect visible. recognizable white ball. Since this time, the screen fans eyes suffer - volleyball has become a pantomime on screens.
Moreover the game was much more smoothly - no so many and so long interruptions as nowadays.. Majority of referees had a respect..
I suppose, if volleyball wants to survive this pandemic crisis, it will have to return to some above mentioned procedures.. Systematically...