Iran has been courting Bulgarian volleyball coach Radostin Stoychev, who has informed the federation that he is “not interested” in working with the Iranian team, a representative of the federation told Tasnim news. Iran has a vacancy at the charge of its men’s National Team after they decided not to renew the contract of Argentine coach Raul Lozano.
Lozano led Iran to a 5th-place finish at the 2016 Olympic Games and a 7th-place ranking in the world. Since the two sides parted way, Iran has twice failed to court high-profile international coaches. First it was Italian Andrea Anastasi, who after being imminent to signing a deal said that the offer was “not satisfying” and after reports that they wanted him to leave his club team Gdansk and focus on Iran full-time.
Now negotiations have broken down with Stoychev, the other widely-reported finalist, as well. According to the federation General Secretary Mahmoud Afshardoost, “Stoychev said he cannot guarantee that they will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.”
It was apparently Stoychev who broke off talks via email on December 27th. The federation says that it has moved on to negotiating with other candidates.
In Rio, Iran struggled in pool play, winning just 2 out of 5 games to scrape by as the final qualifier into the quarterfinals. There, they ran into the top seed from the other group, Italy, who sawed through the Iranian’s 3-0 (31-29, 25-19, 25-17).
Lozano took over the program in 2016 and coached them through to the knockout stages in the country’s first-ever Olympic appearance in men’s indoor volleyball. Under previous coach Slobodan Kovac, the team placed 4th in the 2014 World League and were the 2014 Asian Games Champions.
No new names as leading candidates in Iran’s search have been announced.