Korean Air’s season,안전놀이터 which has reached the top of the V-League men’s division, is currently in progress.
Korean Air, led by coach Tommy Tillikainen, has been participating in the 2023 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship (AVC), which has been held in Manama, Bahrain since the 14th. 1st in the regular season and winning the championship match, Korean Air, instead of enjoying a honeymoon, is sweating heavily in a confrontation with a club representing Asia.
It is true that when the news of Korean Air’s participation in the event spread, concerns were greater than expectations. The reason was that long-distance overseas trips instead of rest would disrupt the players’ preparations for the new season.
Even so, coach Tillikainen decided to participate in AVC.
In the 2017 tournament, coach Tillikainen entered the tournament as a command tower for Toyota Kosei (now Wolfdogs Nagoya) and won runner-up, enhancing his understanding of Asian volleyball.
However, he did not decide to participate because of his own experience. The intention was greater to give new impetus to Korean Air, the absolute leader in the V-League, who won the combined championship for three consecutive years. I wanted to show teams and players who play volleyball at a higher level outside of Korea. As coach Tillikainen intended, the Korean Air team participating in this tournament is receiving considerable stimulation by meeting world-class players such as Dmitri Mushalski (Russia) and Saeed Marouf (Iran), as well as opponents who are one step above the V-League in terms of strength and physique. The fact that Al Ahli Bahrain offered Yosbani $10,000 (approximately 13 million won) for two weeks to win the tournament and decided to give an additional $10,000 as a winning bonus is also stimulating the Korean Air team’s desire to compete.
There were also unexpected gains. Korean Air found Farhan Halim from Indonesia with a strong serve in the third match of the group stage. Based on this experience, Korean Air is expected to consider the first nomination if Farhan applies for the V-League Asia Quarter tryout.
AVC is also a stage where Korean Air can prove that it is a new dynasty team in the V-League. Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance has won consecutive championships in the 2000-2001 competition, which was during the dynasty. In particular, in the 2001 competition, he showed the potential of winning with no set. It is a stage where Korean Air, which is challenging for a combined championship for four consecutive seasons, can prove that it is a better team than Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance.
Director Tillikainen is also preparing a new stimulus. The Finnish national team, which is participating in the qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics to be held in Japan in September, will be invited to Korea to practice. Considering the reality of men’s volleyball, which is 34th in the men’s volleyball world ranking and unable to participate in the Paris Olympics qualifiers, the practice game against Finland seems to be an opportunity for Korean Air to experience world-class volleyball.