Mozaffari hopes to return Iran to the top
Six years ago, when the world event took place at the same venue, Iran captured its first ever gold medal of the age-group competition under the guidance of Serbia’s Jovica Cevetkovic with a thrilling five-set victory over China.
Now it is time for Mozaffari to repeat history two years after taking charge of the national team and nine month past the Asian title won at home in Tehran also with a five-set triumph over perennial rival China.
“Our target here is to be champions,” proclaimed Mozaffari following the preliminary enquiry of his team with members of the FIVB Control Committee. “Our plan is to make history here again with the support of Iranian residents in the nearby California and also of the Mexican fans.”
Five months ago, Mozaffari took his team for a series of friendly matches in Turkey and his tactics have changed compared to the Asian event, he commented.
“We have changed four players from that champion team and then we played with one libero and now we are using two,” he said.
The Iranian coach expects to see strong teams from Russia, China and Cuba and admitted not knowing too much about Brazil.
“It is going to be a strong competition but that’s not something new to us,” he remarked. “Winning the Asian Championship was not an easy task.”
After winning the 2007 edition of the Boys’ U19, Iran finished suffered a painful five-set defeat to the hands of Serbia in the gold medal match of 2009 at Palazzo del Turismo in Jesolo, Italy.They also won a silver medal in Cairo in 2001 and picked the bronze in 2003 in Thailand.
Following a disappointing 10th place in 2011 when the competition was held in Argentina, Mozaffari hopes to put back Iran on the highest step of the podium.
“We are here to win,” he said flatly.