– It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this group and this Jastrzębski Węgiel community. I thank the fans with all my heart, said Jakub Popiwczak.
Conversation with Jakub Popiwczaklibero from Jastrzębski Węgiel
How do you see the Champions League final in Turin beaten by Jastrzębski Węgiel today, when you think about it?
Jakub POPIWCZAK: – Now ZAKSA players are the best in the world. Because that’s how it is in sports. We felt defeated and worse after the final. We certainly don’t feel like we’re dreaming. The difference between the two teams after Turin is minimal. At the two point level. It consists of one better touch of certain players in certain actions.
If we had done better in the tie break we would have won it and the whole final. And we will celebrate the victory in the Champions League today. That would be wild joy, and yes, it’s a shortage. Yes, in a way, it’s beautiful. This is the beauty of sports. But on the other hand, it is also a dark side.
We missed very little, and at the same time very much. Because only two points, two actions are better than hundreds that happened in this game. And now days go by, weeks and months go by…
Everything comes together
Nevertheless, you are the champion of Poland, and in the final of the Plus League you beat ZAKSA.
Jakub POPIWCZAK: – It was three games, won relatively confidently, under control. We showed great volleyball. However, if we look at it cross-sectionally, not only in volleyball, but in all team games, then out of 100 matches, 10 matches are played in concert. 10 bad plays, and the remaining 80 games were… “average”. Sometimes a little better, sometimes a little worse. For us in the final, especially in the last game, everything went hand in hand.
Everything worked out for everyone. That’s why there is a resonance that we are the best and they are far behind us. But that wasn’t the case, and we and they both knew it. ZAKSA had time to breathe and clear his head. Get ready for this final. They did. It’s not easy.
However, I think it’s very close. We lost, but we have to be happy.
How do you compare the atmosphere and emotions of the Plus League final to the Champions League Super Final?
Jakub POPIWCZAK: – You can feel the scale of the event. The only thing I didn’t like about Turin was the combined men’s and women’s finals. Personally, I like to warm up a little earlier. Kick and bounce the ball. Sit for a while, think and catch the atmosphere of the event. It’s a routine that gets me in the right mood. There we went out onto the field, the Vakifbank players were happy and there was no time to do their thing.
Everything had to be done quickly, behind a capu. That’s the only negative aspect, because it’s great to be a part of the show in general. We spoke to people and everyone said that we don’t know how many games like this we will play in our career. In the biggest arena in the world. After all, Europe is the center of the volleyball world. There is one such game a year.
It’s a shame he didn’t make history as a winner. But we put on a great show and people will remember that for a very long time. Jastrzębski Węgiel’s first final and first Polish final in history.
It seems that when ZAKSA wins for the first time in 2021, Poland’s volleyball success will not be repeated for a long time to come. And it happens the other way around. Next year we also want to be in the final, although there is still a long way to go.
How to thank you and your colleagues, on behalf of the fans, for the success you have achieved?
Jakub POPIWCZAK: – No one has to thank me for anything. For the fans, it is also a great joy for me. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this group and this Jastrzębski Węgiel community. I thank the fans with all my heart. The fact that they are always with us, that they are with us in Turin in such large numbers. When we won the Polish championship, they created a great atmosphere.
Two years ago, when we won the Plus Liga, everything was different because the hall was empty. I’m grateful, although I don’t know to whom specifically, I can be one of the main actors of such an event. That I can experience it all. It’s great to be a volleyball player, to win trophies and to enjoy all of that.
Another highly successful club season is behind you. However, you won’t have much time to rest before the rep season.
Jakub POPIWCZAK: – I was called up to the national team, so I’ll be going to the training camp soon. Such is the life of a professional athlete. But that’s what you have to do if you want to represent your club and your country. You have to put some personal things aside. At the same time, be prepared to go from one great event to another.
I’m trying to regenerate, clear my head. The mental aspect is the most difficult. I’ll try to do the same as I did. But for the Polish national team.
Help the team
The challenges are certainly serious, and what are your goals for this international season? National team’s first libero position?
Jakub POPIWCZAK: – I don’t approach it like that. My goal is to go to training camp and help the team. The national team is characterized by the fact that everyone who comes wants to contribute. It is known that everyone wants to play and spend time on the field.
We are one great group of friends and companions who are ultimately there to go out on the field, play, and preferably win. To make our country proud of us. That’s what playing for the national team is for. In the end, it didn’t matter whether Popiwczak, Zatorski, Szymura or Hawryluk played. The most important thing is that the team wins. That’s what we’re all about.
Nations League, European Championships, and Olympic Qualification. Is everything winnable?
Jakub POPIWCZAK: – We have such a strong team that whoever doesn’t go to certain events, we can win. As the Polish national team, we must always aim very high.
In the photo: Jakub Popiwczak won’t have much time to rest after a grueling league season. Soon he will appear in the training camp of the Polish national team.
Photo. Piotr Matusewicz/PressFocus
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