Two of Poland’s two-time world champions, Piotr Nowakowski and Dawid Konarski, as well as 2018 world champ Damian Wojtaszek, bid farewell to the national team, while new head coach Nikola Grbic announced an open-ended list of 29 players to start preparations for the upcoming Volleyball Nations League 2022.
Two-time world champs Nowakowski and Konarski retire from national team
Nikola Grbic presents his first draft of the Polish national team for 2022 - a “work-in-progress” list of players for the upcoming season
Publicado 02:20, 20 abr. 2022
Middle blocker Nowakowski, a member of the Polish national team since 2008, accumulated 230 national team caps. In addition to the FIVB Volleyball World Championship titles in 2014 and 2018, the 34-year-old 2.06m-tall athlete's collection of honours includes a gold (2012) and a bronze (2011) from the FIVB Volleyball World League, a silver (2011) and a bronze (2015) from the FIVB Volleyball World Cup, a silver (2021) and a bronze (2019) from the Volleyball Nations League, and a gold (2009) and three bronze medals (2011, 2019, 2021) from the CEV European Championships. Among many individual awards as a national team player, Nowakowski made the Dream Team of the 2018 World Championship.
“After 14 years of great adventures, it's time to stop,” Nowakowski posted on Instagram. “Thank you, everyone who accompanied me on this beautiful journey! I am glad that I could be part of such a great family. In my heart, this team will still have a special place. Unfortunately, it's time to say goodbye. We won a lot together, we also lost a lot, but every moment spent with you was something special. I would also like to thank the greatest fans in the world! Thanks to you and for you, we managed to decorate this adventure with several titles and medals.”
Konarski, on the other hand, joined the national team in 2012 and announced his retirement after 110 caps. The 32-year-old opposite was on the squads that won the world titles in 2014 and 2018. His national team achievements also include bronze medals at the World Cup 2015, VNL 2019 and EuroVolley 2019.
“Every beautiful dream ends one day, and so my national team time has come to an end,” Konarski wrote. “I am thankful to my wonderful wife, parents, all the players with whom I had the great honour and great pleasure to represent our country, and finally THE ONE AND ONLY - the best FANS IN THE WORLD!”
Damian Wojtaszek also put an end to his national team career upon finding out he was not selected among Grbic’s 29. The 33-year-old athlete made his debut for Poland in 2013 and made several major podiums like those at the 2019 World Cup (silver), the VNL (2021 silver and 2019 bronze) and the European Championship (bronze in 2019 and 2021), in addition to the 2018 World Championship title.
“This is the moment when I must say thank you to the Polish national team for a great adventure. It was a great honour,” posted Wojtaszek. “I keep my fingers crossed for you, because if your health is good, you will win everything!”
With Michal Kubiak also announcing his national team retirement last month, Nikola Grbic’s list still contains the name of a two-time world champion, libero Pawel Zatorski. Middle blocker Karol Klos of the 2014 squad has also been selected by the Serbian coach, while 2018's golden generation is represented by another six players: Aleksander Sliwka, Bartosz Bednorz, Bartosz Kurek, Bartosz Kwolek, Grzegorz Lomacz, Jakub Kochanowski and Mateusz Bieniek.
Most of Team Poland’s other core members, who represented the country last season, when the White-and-Reds played at Tokyo 2020 and earned a VNL silver and a EuroVolley bronze, are back on this year's roster, including Lukasz Kaczmarek, Kamil Semeniuk, Tomasz Fornal and Wilfredo Leon. Setter Fabian Drzyzga is the big absentee.
Poland will start their VNL 2022 campaign on June 7 in Ottawa. Then they will play in Sofia, before hosting a week three tournament in Gdansk. Later this year, Poland will try to make it three titles in a row when they co-host the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship.
Poland men’s national team roster:
Setters: Grzegorz Lomacz, Jan Firlej, Lukasz Kozub, Marcin Janusz
Opposites: Bartlomiej Boladz, Bartosz Kurek, Karol Butryn, Lukasz Kaczmarek, Maciej Muzaj
Outside hitters: Aleksander Sliwka, Bartlomiej Lipinski, Bartosz Bednorz, Bartosz Kwolek, Jakub Szymanski, Kamil Semeniuk, Piotr Orczyk, Rafal Szymura, Tomasz Fornal, Wilfredo Leon
Middle blockers: Jakub Kochanowski, Karol Klos, Karol Urbanowicz, Krzysztof Rejno, Mateusz Bieniek, Mateusz Poreba, Norbert Huber
Liberos: Jakub Popiwczak, Kamil Szymura, Pawel Zatorski
“It’s an open list, meaning that we can and we will add or take off some names. It’s a first milestone, with all the names that are interesting to me and my staff right now. It’s work in progress, obviously. It’s the first time my staff and I are working together with these players and we need to get to know them in the best way possible within a very short amount of time. If we are all positive and have the same mentality and positive attitude, we can overcome every difficulty.” Nikola Grbic, head coach of Poland