Iranian players pledge support for Serbian flood victims
The men's teams of Serbia and Iran, who are in the process of preparing for the upcoming FIVB Volleyball World League, played a friendly match in Šumice Sports Hall, Belgrade on May 24.
Before the match, Iranian players and staff displayed a banner in support of the Serbian people hit by unprecedented floods. Mr Amir Hoshkhabar, team manager of Iran, presented Mr Laslo Lukac, team manager of Serbia, with financial aid, collected by all members of the national team of Iran. The money was transferred to the Volleyball Federation of Serbia Charity Fund for the flood relief.
On the court, Serbia defeated Iran in an exciting encounter 3-2 (26-28, 25-23, 29-31, 25-22, 15-11) in 129 minutes of play. The game was followed by 600 spectators in the stands. The referees were Mr Goran Gradinski and Mr Vladimir Cvetkovic.
Igor Kolakovic, head coach of Serbia, said: "I want to thank the Iranian players and staff who collected a large amount of money for our people hit by the floods. It is very appreciated and I hope we will have the oportunity to return the favour some time. As for the match, we are happy with this result and our overall performance. There is still space to improve and I am sure that by next week our game will be up and running."
Slobodan Kovac, head coach of Iran, said: "It is a phenomenal gesture from my players and staff, and I am really proud of them. Many thanks from me personally. Also, I would like to thank the Volleyball Federation of Serbia for the opportunity to play and prepare together. I think we did a good job for Serbia and for us ahead of this upcoming World League."
The men's team of Serbia will participate in the World League for the seventeenth time, this year in Pool B with Russia, the United States and Bulgaria. They will play all of their home matches at 20.00 CET.
Over the next weekend, Serbia will host Russia, the reigning Olympic and European champions and winners of the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World League. Both matches will be played in the Cair Sports Hall in the city of Nis, on May 30 and 31.