Six Candidates Shortlisted for Iran Volleyball Coach Job

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Six top coaches have been shortlisted, of whom one is soon to replace Julio Velasco in Iran's volleyball team, president of Iran’s volleyball federation has announced.

Six Candidates Shortlisted for Iran Volleyball Coach Job

Velasco is set to leave Iran after Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner asked him to take the helm of his homeland’s team.

Velasco, who was appointed head coach of the Iranian men's national team in 2011, helped the Asian team to qualify for the FIVB Men's World League 2013. Iran beat powerhouse Italy, Serbia, Cuba and Germany in the competitions.

He led Iran to win Asian Volleyball Championship in 2011 and 2013 as well.

President of Iran’s Volleyball Federation, Mohammad-Reza Davarzani, has said that they will find a good replacement for Velasco.

“After Argentina’s insistence to sign Velasco and after the coach showed his interest to join them, we agreed with his departure. We have received advice from FIVB consultant and negotiated with the six top coaches,” Davarzani said.

Iran’s Volleyball Federation has negotiated with Andrea Anastasi, current Poland coach; however, the Italian coach has said that he is going to head his team in the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Poland, which will be held in Poland from August 30 to September 21, 2014.

New Zealand’s Hugh McCutcheon, the former head coach of the US men's volleyball team, who led the team to the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing for the first time since 1988, is also among the candidates.

Lorenzo Bernardi, who was elected "Volleyball Player of the Century" in 2001, has been considered as a replacement for Julio Velasco.

Argentine Raul Lozano has been nominated to lead Iran. He led Poland from 2005-2008 and won the silver medal in the World Championship. Lozano has also coached Iranian volleyball club Shahrdar Urmia.

Vladimir Alekno, former Russia volleyball coach who led them to win the gold at the London Olympics, is a candidate to take charge of Iran. Of course, he left Russia due to heart problems.

And finally Italian Silvano Prandi is a top candidate to replace Velasco. He was a favorite to become Iran's coach in 2011 and met the Iranian officials in Tehran but did not reach an agreement.

He is currently the head coach of Pallavolo Modena.

Iran is preparing to take part in the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship in Poland.

The Asian heavyweight has been drawn in Pool D of the competitions along with Italy, Belgium and France.

“Velasco will return to Iran on Friday. We will begin our final negations with him but will not enforce anyone to stay. In case we cannot reach an agreement with him, we will negotiate with one of the six candidates within the next days,” Davarzani said.

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