Polina Rahimova: "The strongest volleyball players should be invited to the team, the team should not be selected based on acquaintance" - INTERVIEW

15 November 2023 13:55
Polina Rahimova: "The strongest volleyball players should be invited to the team, the team should not be selected based on acquaintance" - INTERVIEW

Azerbaijan national team volleyball player Polina Rahimova started the current season in Vietnam.

The striker, who played a major role in the "Dak Qiang Ray of Light Chemical" club, which she wore, reached the final stage of the Vietnam Championship, gave an interview to Idman.biz.

Havin won the love of local fans, Polina talked about Vietnam's experience, offers from Asia, as well as the development of Azerbaijani volleyball, and her future plans.

- Polina, you are not new to the Vietnam Championship, you were elected MVP of the last season. How do you feel about the new season? Are there any interesting differences?

- If we remember our previous experience, we achieved something incredible. "Geleximco Thai Binh", which did not win a title for 15 years, became the champion with my help. The club believed in me, so my partners were encouraged and played well. I am now in a different team - "Duc Giang Company". In the last three years, he was the silver medalist of the championship. Therefore, the club transferred me due to the lack of a strong striker. The management hopes that this is the transfer that will help them win the gold medal. When the season started, it was difficult, because I was asked to attend training a month earlier to feel better in the team. At first it was very difficult, just imagine, you are the only foreigner in the team. As the weeks passed, I gradually adapted to the country. Now everything is very easy.

- The Vietnamese press enthusiastically wrote about your return to the championship. Do you consider yourself a fan favorite and one of the main stars of the league?

- I can't talk about myself, but I see that people are constantly trying to take my picture. Some even do it "on the sly". Certainly, I feel that more attention is being paid to me than to others. Of course I like it. At the same time, I conclude that incredible results are expected from me when I remember the last season. But getting to the podium is easier than defending the title. We will try.

- Why did you choose Vietnam as a career path?

- The answer is simple. The Vietnam Championship starts after the European Championship. It was convenient for me, because I needed a rest. First of all, I had knee surgery, but I never thought I would come to the nationals with such a quick recovery. I think, it was a kind of stressful test - I recovered very quickly and went back to the nationals. Long story short, after the European Championship, I dedicated a month to myself, to rest and improve my health. Vietnam has a short season and a relatively normal income, it is always interesting to see a new atmosphere, a new culture, new places. Therefore, there was no doubt when choosing. I am open to interesting offers for the second half of the year. I will appreciate the suggestions.

- The team spends a lot of time on the road. What are the main characteristics of mobility, and also, how long does it take on average to reach any point?

- Actually, we don't move as much as it seems. During my time here, I visited only four cities, and we only spent the night in Saigon. For the first time in my life, I rode a bus with extended seats. The size was small and certainly did not suit me, but the experience was interesting. Generally, Vietnam is extremely large, although you can see only a thin strip on the map. It is better to use a plane to get from one point to another - that's what we do to save energy. For example, the National Championship between women's and men's volleyball players is held in neighboring states, and it takes 11 hours to get there by car. We trained in Hanoi for the first month. There are many foreigners in the capital and it was easy for me to communicate, I even discovered Ukrainian cuisine there. I learned that one of my Azerbaijani friends has been living in Hanoi for three years, I was very happy.

- Your team reached the final stage and until this, lost in the final several seasons in a row. Is the main goal a championship?

- Of course. Therefore, the club transferred me, appreciating my successful performance last year. In addition, the company sponsoring the team celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Winning the championship will be a great gift for them. But we must not forget that there are better quality foreign volleyball players in the new season, the competition inevitably increases.

- Last week, the president of the European Volleyball Confederation, Aleksandar Boricic, and other dignitaries visited Baku, where the establishment of the academy was discussed. What do you think about the future of Azerbaijan volleyball?

- With the new leadership of the federation led by Sahin Bagirov, if we continue at the same pace with the search for talented children who have passed the course, including in the regions, new perspectives can open up. Sahin Catma has been recruited to the national youth team, and Cengiz Akarcesme is taking coaching courses in English and Turkish - all these are successful steps forward. Of course, there are people who will share their experience and help the development of Azerbaijani volleyball. Of course, we have Faig Garayev, but there is no young generation - in my opinion, this is the main problem. For example, I don't see volleyball players capable of strengthening the national team in the new season. It seems that we will have to take risks and attract very young players. The coach is not only involved in the management on the field, his duties also include the training of the athlete. In this context, there are two coaches on my list that I would like to praise - Alla Hasanova and Oksana Mammadyarova. I would like to take this opportunity to wish the youth team the best of luck in the Eastern European Volleyball Zonal Association tournament. As for the Academy, its creation is the right decision. Give everyone a chance who is talented and it will depend on how far each girl wants to go. However, of course, we should not forget the purposeful development of volleyball throughout the country. In this issue, I really liked Tovuz, which started from scratch. They are approach seriously to the problem and know what they want.

- After the European Championship, the federation has not yet decided on the head coach. Who do you see in this position - a foreigner or a local specialist?

- Before answering the question, let me say that later on, taking coaching courses helped me to better understand Ataman Guneyligil's tactical plan. I was surprised by how much the former national coach paid attention to details using a scientific approach. I think it is better to trust a foreign coach for now., because our young specialists do not have enough experience to lead the team yet. Of course, I understand the importance of mentality, but the presence of a foreigner will ensure an unbiased approach to the formation of the staff. What is our goal? Raising the flag higher, protecting the honor of the Motherland. Therefore, the strongest volleyball players should be invited to show their strenghtes to the opponent, the team should not be selected based on familiarity. For this reason, I am in favor of having a foreigner in the team.

- Do you associate your future with the national team?

- I don't have an answer to this question yet. At the European Championship, the team had an opportunity to shine and show itself, so I responded to the offer. İt was food thing that I recovered from knee surgery and didn't have any new injuries. I am grateful to the Federation for believing in me and inviting me, and they still remember me.

- Are there any initial suggestions to continue your career after Vietnam?

- I want to recover my health and rest. The Asian Championships still have their own characteristics. Here sometimes you play not on the parquet floor, but on the concrete platform which creates additional pain for knees and back. Therefore, it is necessary to take a break, gather strength and travel. I was planning to visit Taiwan and Canada. I will be ready for new volleyball challenges from January.

Zaki Feyzullayev