Following a strong start in England in the National Cup and Super League, IBB Polonia London took on the mighty Champions of Poland: Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn Kozle. The game was a final test before the inaugural match in the prestigious European competition CEV Champions League. Despite the win by the home team, one of the top teams in Europe, the London team gained vital experience and optimistically await Tuesday’s encounter with the Champions of Croatia: HAOK Mladost Zagreb.
On Saturday, 19th October, the celebrations in Kedzierzyn-Kozle took place to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Champions of Poland and IBB Polonia London were part of the festival. The main part of the festival, was a match between the two Champion teams. Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn Kozle presented their new team on court and from the start didn’t allow their guests any easy points. The IBB Polonia London players, under the watchful eye of their Greek Head Coach Vangelis Koutouleas, didn’t leave without a fight, and eventually left the court having given every emotion and an excellent account of themselves. The match ended with no surprises: 3:0 (25:15; 25:19; 25:13) in favour of the Polish giants. The match had many superstars involved, not only on the side of the hosts ZAKSA. The club from London; IBB Polonia had their own living legend of the sport: Giba. There was an amazing atmosphere in the sportshall, with the home fans supporting their own players with huge passion and emotion. IBB Polonia London also had their support from the stands, but also from around the world, with their countless fans watching the live action transmitted on POLSAT.
The match boded very well for IBB Polonia London, before the upcoming tests. On 22nd October, the encounter is with the current champions of Croatia; and takes place in Zagreb. The return leg of the round will be played in the Copper Box Arena (in the Olympic Park) London, on 30th October 2019 and will determine which team progresses to the next phase of this prestigious tournament.
“We must review the game with ZAKSA considering our current level and what we are able to achieve this season. ZAKSA does not play easy games or give away easy points, even in friendly matches. This is their mentality and we are still learning to be like them. But we played a good game with a giant. It is tough to be happy with a defeat, but we should remain positive with what we achieved and how we will approach the Champions League. On Tuesday, we will fight to be able to enter the next round, and then we will play at home, in London. It is important that we approach the game with total concentration because the team from Zagreb are strong and will be demanding.” said assistant Coach: Dominik Żmuda, previously working with the team from Kędzierzyn-Koźle.
“ZAKSA didn’t hold back against us and showed their skill level in all departments. But I’m proud that we brought the fight, and I’m very pleased with how we played. It would have been a negative result, if we had scored fewer than ten points per set, but the result was different. I hope we can play the Champions of Poland again in the future, and I hope it will be an official match during the CEV Champions League. We constantly raise the bar for ourselves.” said the owner of IBB Polonia London: Jacek Ambrozy; who is the main club shareholder and owner of IBB Builders Merchants.
“We were never favourites of this game with ZAKSA, but we brought the fight and showed our best side. We all gained valuable experience and tested ourselves against such a mighty rival, we also had a flavour of top European volleyball that we are competing against this season. On Tuesday, our club will take part, for the first time, in the CEV Champions League competition. It will allow us to raise the level of our play. The most important match will be played on 30th October in London and I would like to encourage everyone to the sportshall to support us. We are fighting to get through to the next round and we also want to show the world that London is ready for world class volleyball. “ commented Giba, the legendary outside hitter, who brings his wealth of experience in club and National Team volleyball and shares it with his team-mates during training and games.
The next matches for IBB Polonia London:
HAOK Mladost Zagreb – IBB Polonia London (October 22nd, 8:00PM)
IBB Polonia London – Malory Eagles (October 26th, 4:30PM) tickets: https://ibbpolonia-maloryeagles.eventbrite.co.uk
IBB Polonia London – HAOK Mladost Zagreb (October 30, 7:00PM) tickets: https://clm.ibbpolonia.com/
Pic. Lukasz Laskowski – Agencja Fotograficzna PRESSFOCUS