Enter the Dragan: Indian volleyball head coach seeks more foreign trips

As of now, India’s next big assignment is the Asian Championship, which is slated for September in Tehran.

Published: 15th June 2019 09:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2019 09:53 AM   |  A+A-

Dragan Mihailovic | shriram bn

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The newly appointed men’s volleyball head coach of the Indian team, Dragan Mihailovic is known for his attention to detail. The Serbian, who has won medals as an assistant coach with Serbia at the Worlds and the Olympics, quips: “throughout my life, I have been working like this only. It helps get results.”

It does not take much time to see first hand that trait of his. A few days ago, during the ongoing men’s national camp at SAI, Bengaluru, it was observed that he was the first to reach the court, even before the players. He also went to the store room to check upon the balls ahead of practice.

Considering the Serb has only been around a fortnight or so, he is having a closer look at the 24 players in the camp with the express purpose of developing individual profiles of all players. In most European countries, players’ profiles, including medical records and detailed stats, are all readily available. “I do not have that kind of information here. That is the reason, why I am testing them for everything. I will make a profile of all the players here and give it to the federation. It will include the players’ physical profile, technical and tactical skills, also how his game is... these small details are important. The next coach, whoever joins, will have some information,” Mihailovic said.

As of now, India’s next big assignment is the Asian Championship, which is slated for September in Tehran. If India manage to finish in the top eight, Mihailovic’s men will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics qualifier tournament, expected to be held in January. As per October 2018 rankings, India are in 131st place. And Mihailovic’s immediate challenge is to improve India’s standing in the world order.  “Lack of exposure is one of the main reasons why India did not make any important result in international competitions. These guys have to play outside and against different teams to gain experience and improve. Only by this way, you can collect experience and it will help in the future,” he added.

The gaffer has already set the ball rolling too. After he became the coach, other national teams have showed their willingness to host India. He has already prepared a list of countries that they would like to go and play against as part of exposure trips in the next few months (yet to receive green signal from the government).

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