“Our Team Is Raw And Lacks Good Players” – Rafael Khabibullin

  0 Liam Smith | January 10th, 2018 | European volleyball, International Volleyball, News, Pro Indoor, Russian League

Gazprom-Yugra Surgut recently has a knack for appearing on VolleyMob for the most unconventional reasons. They are rarely glamorous. Take for example how last month, it unexpectedly made news around the world just because “it is too far away in Siberia.” It all started when Dutch club Orion, who is made up mostly of amateur players with full time jobs, surprisingly won its Round of 16 CEV Challenger match-up against Bulgaria’s Levski Sofia. This granted the team the right to advance rounds in the competition and face Surgut, something the Dutchmen didn’t except would be a reality.

Since it’s basically an amateur club, the squad does not have the money to travel to Siberia to play its away game against the Russian team, and is now organizing fundraisers to make the trip, or else it will risk severe sanctions from CEV.

This time around, it is not different. American audiences are accustomed to coaches and the media calling out professional players on their performance. But rarely are fans treated to such ruthless and scathing comments as what coach Rafael Khabibullin had to say to his players afters their 3-1 loss to Dynamo-Leningrad in the Russian Superleague. Here is what he had to say:

We have a very rough team. There are no definite trump cards, no real good players. We don’t have enough skill. In general, with normal players, on a normal team, players would play at a higher level.

Definitely very tough, and possibly over the line. Or perhaps he was trying to motivate his players? One would think that with this review by its coach, Surgut was having a relegation-bound season in the Russian Superleague. Which is not the case, as even though it lost its last game, it sits just outside of playoff contention, with a 7-10 record, good enough for 9th place in the standings.


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