Hyundai Capital, aiming for the championship, chose Ikbairi for a reason

Foreign players who will play in the V-League men’s division for the 2023-24 season have been decided. The selection of Hyundai Capital, the runner-up last season (2022-23), is attracting special attention.
KOVO (Korea Volleyball Federation) held a tryout for foreign players in the men’s division in Istanbul, Turkey for three days from the 6th (Korean time). 

Overall, it was evaluated that the skills of the participating players did not meet expectations, such as the absence of Jose Masso, the ‘biggest fish’. In the end, four clubs, Korean Air (Lincoln), OK Financial Group (Leo), Korea Electric Power (Thais), and KB Insurance (Villena) renewed contracts with foreign players who played last season. Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, who exercised the nomination right, chose Yosubani, who played three seasons in the V-League, and only Woori Card nominated ‘new face’ Matei Kok. 

Hyundai Capital recruited Apposite Spiker (Light) Ikbairi (27), who played for Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance last season. This choice is somewhat surprising. 

Ikbairi’s skills were not highly regarded. It ranked third in the league in scoring (875 points), but the attack success rate (49.22%) was outside the top 10. Because domestic strikers belonged to a team with relatively low skills, they had a relatively high attack share and scored a lot. Power wasn’t that impressive. 

There are several reasons for recruiting Ikbairi. First of all, even in the eyes of Hyundai Capital coach Choi Tae-woong, the skills of the players who participated in this tryout did not live up to expectations. Coach Choi said, “There were players who I put my eyes on as a priority, but the actual skills were a little disappointing.” 

It seems that Ikbairi is a player who lacks nothing compared to Oreol (37), who played as a player last season. Oreol showed good skills enough to rank 4th in scoring (625 points) and 7th in overall attack (52.76%), but the ups and downs in the game were great due to his considerable age. In particular, the championship match against Korean Air, which was the most important stage, did not live up to expectations. Ikbairi played in all games 메이저사이트(36) in the 2022-23 season and digested 140 sets, 11 sets more than Oreol. The 6th round attack success rate was 48.65%, and there was no significant difference from the season average. 

Hyundai Capital is a team that has a duo of Huh Soo-bong and Jeon Kwang-in, and the national team outside hitter (left). Among the seven clubs, the number of domestic strikers is the best. 

Ikbairi had 44.49% of attack share last season. It was the highest among the 7 foreign players. It was difficult to manage physical strength as there were many attack opportunities. Because of the concentration mark of the opposing blocker, the attack success rate was bound to drop. 

O’Reol’s offensive share last season was 29.96%. If Ikbairi joins Hyundai Capital, the opportunity to attack will decrease, but he can hit the spike in better condition. 

It should not be overlooked that Ikbairi is a player with good serve skills. Last season, he recorded 0.479 serve points per set, ranking 4th in this category. Oreol was outside the top 10.

For Hyundai Capital, Heo Soo-bong ranked 3rd and Jeon Kwang-in ranked 10th. If you add Ikbairi, you can build a ‘strong serve trio’. Coach Tae-Woong Choi is a leader who orders a bold serve even if there is a mistake. Hyundai Capital, which is aiming for the top spot next season, is pinning its hopes on Ikbairi’s real ability, which he failed to fully demonstrate last season. 

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