After a disappointing Olympics that has led to a re-evaluation of the structure of almost every sport in Australia, complete with turnover of personnel and funding cuts, Volleyball Australia has announced a major restructure for the 2020 cycle.
The men’s indoor national team and the men’s and women’s beach programs will both be in search of new head coaches. Victor Anfiloff, an Aussie who has built the Dutch program into one of the best in the world, will come home to take over the sane program.
The Volleyroos, however, are still without a coach after not renewing the contract of Roberto Santilli after just a year-and-a-half with the program. The Australian men failed to reach the 2016 Olympics for the second time in three cycles, and placed just 9th at the 2015 FIVB World Cup.
“We thank Roberto for his efforts over the past two years with the Volleyroos. Success has been mixed but his efforts, his advice, and especially his work in assisting players to secure good contracts in overseas leagues, are greatly appreciated by Volleyball Australia,” High Performance Manager John Boultbee said.
“It is such a busy time for our senior men’s team. Not only do we have the 2018 World Championship campaign, but we have also set ourselves a goal to return to the top level of the prestigious World League.
“And then, of course, we want to return to the Olympics after missing out this year. We will be looking for a coach who can steer our exciting team through this exciting period.”
The Australian men are ranked 15th in the latest FIVB World Rankings, dropping 2 spots in August from their July slot.
Santili came to Australia in early 2015 after bouncing around Europe for most of his career in both club positions and as assistants with different national teams (including Germany).Shannon Winzer has been re-appointed as the head coach of the women’s indoor team. That program has competed in the Olympics only once – in 2000 as the hosts – and only twice at the World Championships.
The women’s team currently ranks 43rd in the world, but has been ranked as high as 14th after a 9th-place finish at their home Olympics.
As compared to many sports, where Australia is the dominant force in an Oceanic region rife with island nations small on resources and an athlete pool, in volleyball they are grouped into the Asian region with powers like China, Japan, South Korea, and Iran.
Volleyball Australia will also appoint a Pathways Director, who will be responsible for integrating “pathways” to Olympic success, building the sport from the lowest levels into international prominence.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games will feature the debut of beach volleyball – not a sport that the Commonwealth nations are historically strong in.