The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has recently banned the Iranian teams from hosting international matches based on safety fears over the current tensions in the region, however Kolakovic says Iran is a safe country.
“The Iranian people are very hospitable and the country is safe. I receive so many messages from my friends per day and they ask after the Iranian people. They, indeed, support the Iranian people. I have good memories from Iran and I am sad because I have to leave the country after the Olympics,” he told the Tasnim News Agency.
Under stewardship of Kolakovic, Iran booked a place at the 2020 Olympic Games after becoming champion at the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) 2020 Olympic Qualification Tournament in Jiangmen, China.
“To win an Olympic berth is not an easy task because all teams took part in the competitions with the best preparation. The best Asian teams were in the China but they had nothing to lose against Iran. They played against us without any fear. On the other hand, we had so many problems ahead of the event because our key players like Farhad Ghaemi and Amir Ghaffour missed the competition due to injury and several players got cold when arrived in Jiangmen,” Kolakovic said.
Iran fought back from a set down to beat South Korea 3-2 in the competition’s semis.
“We had problem against Korea because they played very better than expected. And we could not play as usual. The final match against China was very easier than we expected. Our players were ready, both physically and mentally. Iran has so many rising stars and I am sure that they will be added to Team Melli in the near future,” Kolakovic stated.
“To be present in Olympics is very good for Iran’s volleyball. It’s not a long time that Iran has introduced itself as a world power. Iran has qualified for the Olympics for the second successive time and it proves that Iran also is a powerhouse team in volleyball. The team has a bright future. A team like Serbia, who is champion of the Europe, has failed to win a place in the Olympics because the qualification in the Europe is very difficult,” the Montenegrin trainer went on to say.
“I am happy for what I have done for Iran volleyball. I called up Morteza Sharifi, Amir Hossein Tukhteh and Saber Kazemi and Mohammad Reza Hazratpour to Team Melli for the 2018 World Cup and now they can replace the big stars like Saeid Marouf and MohammadMousavi. I am proud of my team,” Kolakovic concluded.