Matey Kaziyski about volleyball, fair play, past and future...
I think that we can play at eye level with any opponent, the Bulgarian star says about his new team Halkbank
Together with some other volleyball stars – Osmany Juantorena, Raphael Vieira de Oliveira, Mitar Djuric – Matey Kaziyski did draw much attention this summer as he eventually left Italy’s heavyweight Trentino Volley Trento and moved to Turkish Halkbank Ankara alongside his long-time mentor Radostin Stoychev. That story was much publicized by the Italian media but Matey is now looking forward to the next chapter of an already outstanding career in the sport.
“Of course it was very difficult to leave Trento after so many years but I think this is also a very good experience” Matey says. “What we have done and achieved there in Trento will always remain. Italy is always my second home but we also have to look forward to the future. We are here, in Ankara; we have started our preparations for the coming season and we gradually have to find the right chemistry.”
Though it is much different from the quiet Trento, Matey already got good impressions from Turkey’s capital city. “It is a very big city that is also developing very fast. You can see there are construction sites everywhere though I have not been around that much since we have been working very hard for the past couple of weeks.”
Stoychev stated some days ago that his goal is to win every single competition that Halkbank is entering this season, including the CEV Volleyball Champions League. With a unique resume that already includes three titles in Europe’s elite competition and four from the FIVB Club World Championship – all seized while wearing the jersey of Trentino – does Matey think that this goal is within their reach? “I absolutely agree with my coach and since we have put together a very strong group here in Ankara, I think that we can play at eye level with any opponent. We have to work hard and develop the right system of play but our aim will be to finish on top in any tournament and competition we are set to enter.”
Though the 2013 European Championship is coming up in a couple of weeks, Matey will not be there for he decided to quit the national team last year after the Olympic qualification tournament held in Sofia. Still he will follow closely the actions of his friends hoping for a good result after Bulgaria ended this year’s World League in fourth place. “If I look at what they have done in recent times, I think Bulgaria will be playing good matches at Euro 2013. Their goal will be to make the semis and after that see what happens. It is not that easy to single out the teams that may have a shot at the medals, but I think that Poland, Russia and maybe Italy will be the top contenders for a spot on the podium in Copenhagen.”
Is there any young Bulgarian player that may turn into a global star? Somebody to keep an eye on, the “next” Matey, so to speak? “Bulgaria already has a young international star and this is Tsvetan Sokolov. He is only 24 but already plays superb volleyball. As for the next Matey, I do not know.”
This past June the CEV launched a special promotional campaign under the motto Fair Play. Volleyball Way. What does fair play mean to Matey? “Actually, frankly speaking, fair play is something that in the past years got a bit lost in volleyball. So I can only welcome the launch of this campaign because we have to draw more attention on the importance of fair play and associate it with volleyball more closely than it was done before.”
Volleyball is the sport Matey has been committed to since he was a teenager, but how would he address young boys and girls to make sure that they eventually take up the sport? “It is very difficult to convince people because in the end it is a question of personal preferences, things you like or you do not like. I can only say that volleyball is a sport where you can really get to learn the importance of the group. You have to rely on your teammates as you cannot score all alone but you have to pаss the ball to somebody else, this is imposed by the rules of the game. In volleyball you simply cannot achieve much if you are doing things by yourself. This is what makes volleyball so special and different from any other sport. If you play volleyball, you also shape a nice and well-proportioned body, because you need to work on your legs and on your arms as well. To finish it off, I would also say that volleyball is a sport where you have to use your mind, where you have to play clever to achieve your goals and win.”