Young volleyball fans may have trouble remembering our last compatriot, who was the coach of the Polish men’s national team. Since 2005, this function has been performed by foreigners on a permanent basis. Until recently, the opposite trend was applied to women workers, whom national trainers have been working on since 2009. The series has now been discontinued thanks to Stefan Lavarini, who will debut in this role in just a few weeks. The 43-year-old Italian previously successfully led the South Korean team and now trains one of the leading women’s clubs – Igor Gorgonzola Novara.
– I am very glad that the Polish Volleyball Federation has decided to radically change this position. I think the Italian preparation is very good. Why are local coaches chosen instead of Poles? Of course, we used to use our compatriots, but it did not work very well. Having spent six seasons in Italy, I can say that this is a completely different world – Małgorzata Glinka-Mogentale, who previously played for two Serie A clubs – Metodo Infoplus, Vicenza Volley and Assystel Novara.
Mentality, professionalism, smart work
According to him, the national coaches still have a lot to learn from their Italian counterparts. What should they take from Lavarini first?
– First of all, I hope that he will teach such a mentality, professionalism, work with the leader. I think this is the most important thing – the double European champion.
The Italian will make his coaching debut on May 24 in the first of two friendly matches against Germany in Nysa. In mid-April, he named 24 players for the League of Nations, and by Tuesday he must approve the final list of participants in this year’s edition of the tournament, as well as another volleyball player.
This group includes, among others, Joanna Wołosz, whose return to the national team is eagerly awaited by fans. In addition to the award-winning playmaker, there are a few experienced players, but there are also some new faces. Lavarini paid a lot of attention to young volleyball players.
– I do not miss anyone here. There is no missing girl who will change the representation. I believe that the coach just built his team. He did not look at previous years. He relied on the young players he saw as potential. If they work – and of course they will work hard and smart, because they have a very good and experienced coach – then we can no longer look at very experienced volleyball players. We must look ahead. When you analyze the composition, you see that the coach has an idea – he emphasizes Glinka-Mogentalini, who played about 300 games for the national team.
“This is not a seasonal job”
Italy’s concept of large-scale betting on younger and less experienced volleyball players may seem a bit risky in the context of the main start of this year, the World Cup, which Poland will co-host with the Netherlands. Glinka-Mogentale notes that the event, which began in less than five months, should focus on expectations about the performance of whites and reds.
– Of course, everyone would like the girls to win the world championship, but this is a very demanding tournament … This will be their first serious performance in this squad under the leadership of the new head coach. I don’t know if he will have enough time to prepare the team perfectly. But this is not a seasonal job, in fact, even half a season. The most important thing is that there is a change, that the girls know what they are going to do on the pitch, that it is going in the right direction, and that the two-time Champions League winner is arguing.
In his view, Lavari’s open representation is beginning to take into account the target event, the Olympics in Paris in two years. The task is difficult for him because he has not found a previously developed base. Thus, Glinka-Mogentale accuses Jacek Navrocki, who led the national team in 2015-21.
– Coach Navrocki often worked with the staff, but at that time there was not much representation. We have no foundation and now we have to do it again from the beginning. Needed in time. It’s time to raise our profile again – says the title volleyball player.