One of our most reliable national team members, certainly the most versatile, 26-year-old Kruno Nikačević, a 202 cm middle blocker, although he can cover many other positions, is playing his first season abroad. Good or…?
“Very good, I’m playing well, I’m healthy, and everything is going in the best order,” said Kruno from the Czech Republic. His new club, where he moved from Mladost, Dukla Liberec is pushing season hard.
“We are good, at the moment we are in second place after 13 rounds played, the second round has already started. This Saturday we will play a derby with Karlovarski, which is a great team, they are first at the table. We lost to them in the first half at home by 2:3, so now we are waiting for a return match. Ambitions are high, we are aiming for trophies in the Championship and the Cup, and we have a good team that can achieve that, even though the competition is very strong, there are 5-6 teams that can think in the same way as we do.”
Kruno will say about the strength of Czech volleyball:
“An excellent league, stronger than ours in Croatia, but also than MEVZA, so from that side it was a good decision that I came here. There were some combinations even with going to some more attractive leagues, but I think I made the right decision, because here I have a lot of playing time and an opportunity to improve. I’m playing well and I’m satisfied.”
This “I am playing well” can be seen from numbers.
“In the competition of middle blockers in the league, I am currently second overall, and first only in terms of points in the attack.“
So, a long warm and successful representative summer with practically no rest did not cause problems for him, but on the contrary, maintained a high level of form.
“That’s how it turns out. Because, when I arrived at the club, I was in great playing shape, at a much higher level than the other teammates who were just doing physical training at the time. However, I knew that this would not be possible for long, so I also turned to the gym, because I had been working on game tactics all summer in the national team. I expected a certain drop in form, but there was nothing dramatic, so in the end everything turned out perfectly fine. I caught a fast rhythm in the club and that’s it.”
There are a lot of foreigners in Liberec.
“Seven foreigners, three Slovaks, an Estonian, a Latvian, a Cuban and myself, a Croat. Considering that I studied Russian language, so with the Slavic group, it is not a big problem with communication, except with a Cuban player. Anyway, I asked everyone to speak to me in czech, so I could adopt it as soon as possible. And I’m doing well, I can even joke in their language…”
Kruno found a lot of similarities in his new club with Zagreb’s Mladost.
“They have a lot in common, for example, there are also men’s and women’s teams, all under the same roof of one club and one administration. Also, they have a hall at their disposal, just like Mladost, 24 hours a day, it’s even similar. I am satisfied with everything, I live ten seconds from the hall, I really can’t complain about anything. Except maybe for premature elimination in the CEV Cup from Geneva. They beat us twice with 3:1, but when you look at their results and composition, it actually turned out very realistically in the end.”
After his first season abroad, Kruno is again expecting a long summer with strong national team competitions.
“Luckily, there won’t be as many competitions as this summer, but it will be intense, especially for teams that don’t have a lot of width like us. The European Championship is the most important, and I think we have the right to hope for good results there, while the Golden Group of the European League will serve as a great test in that case“, Kruno Nikačevć will say at the end.