Kolkata: India coach Desh Raj blamed
their straight-set defeat to Iran on poor blocking in the
third Asian Senior Volleyball Championship (Central Zone) at
Netaji Indoor Stadium courts here on Monday.
India had to settle for the runners-up position and Raj
said they have to improve their performance if they are
targeting a medal in the Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou
in China in November.
"Winning and losing are part of the game. We were not up
to the mark and did not play a satisfactory game. When we were
leading, we should have clinched the set but that did not
happen unlike our opponents who grabbed every opportunity,"
the coach told reporters in the post-match conference.
"Our blocking let us down. We could only manage just
three to four blockings in the entire match, that sums up our
show. We have to rectify our mistakes. I am really
disappointed of this show. They played fast game, we could not
match up to their speed. We have to play better to win a medal
at the Asian Games."
India plays next in the Rashid Memorial Invitational
Tournament in Dubai where there will be Iran, Pakistan besides
Slovenia among others.
Ranked 46th in the FIVB world rankings, defending
champions India lost to a second string Iran side 25-19,
25-22, 29-27 in the final today.
The main Iran side, ranked 18th in the world, is
currently preparing for the World Championship beginning in
Italy in a few days.
India`s libero Kanagaraj let India down but the coach
defended saying: "He is not much experienced. Maybe he was a
little nervous playing in front of such a good home support".
In sharp contrast, Iran`s libero Golmohammad Sakhavi,
who was picked after Ali Hosein pulled out because of an
injury, stood out with a superb show.
Heaping praise on their libero, Iran coach Payman Akbari
said, "He has been a God sent gift for us. I am really happy
for him, he played outstanding. The entire team also played
Talking about India`s performance, the Iran coach said,
"They lacked planning. We had a plan in place but perhaps they
failed to come out with a proper planning."