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21/04/2019 12:00
Earvin Ngapeth – The motivation is at its peak! (Part II)
CEV Champions League Volley 2019 Super Finals

Luxembourg, April 21, 2019. After qualifying for the second final of the CEV Champions League of his career and for the semi-finals of the Russian Super League, French superstar Earvin Ngapeth is about to take on the final stretch of his season with Zenit KAZAN – and he sounds determined to win everything. ‘The motivation is at its peak’, he said.

here to read Part I.

Together with Matt Anderson and Maxim Mikhailov you share the responsibilities in attack. How do you feel about it?
This is one of the major differences, because back in Modena, I had the main role and the pressure in the most important moments was entirely on me. Zenit KAZAN is such a big club because I share the responsibility in such moments with many other players.

How is your relationship with the coach, Vladimir Alekno?

We have a beautiful relationship. He does not speak much but he looks after his players. He lived a long time in France, since he played and trained there, so he knows our mentality well. He immediately made me feel very comfortable and helped me a lot to fit in the team and adapt to the Russian Championship, which is completely different from the Italian Championship. He is a great coach.

How is the Russian Championship so different?

In Italy, the game is more technical and tactical, whereas here the physical side of it takes precedence over everything. Therefore, the coach, even if he wanted me to keep my freedom, my madness and my technical gestures, quickly told me that I had quite a lot of work to do.

Do you feel like another man physically?
Not like another man, but I worked hard to be at this level, it took a little time, but I think I now have some more variants in my game. I feel extremely good and super motivated to take on the remainder of the season.

Tell us a bit about Zenit Kazan: is it different from what you have known before?

It is a dimension really apart. I had heard that Zenit KAZAN was something enormous, but I did not expect it to be at this level. We are really at the level of some football clubs; it is extraordinary. Just for travel, we have a private jet, it does not exist anywhere else, in terms of recovery it is a huge.

How did you adjust to local life?

I had really prepared myself in the head last summer to make sure that I would adjust as easily and quickly as possible. I knew that the months of January and February were going to be the hardest, because I was going back to France during the holidays and it was going to be hard to leave, especially at a time when it is so cold here that you are still locked up home when you are not in training. It is not necessarily easy to live, but the sun has come, it is five degrees above zero and it is all good!

Let us finish with Team France: how do you feel about the upcoming international season?

The goals are to win everything. The EuroVolley in France and qualifying for the Olympics are necessarily two major goals compared to the VNL, as this will serve us as preparation. I had a good chat with the coach and the staff, I am going to have some rest at the end of my season with the club and it will allow me to come back in the French team with a lot of freshness and go headlong in this season. The EuroVolley in France is something that we cannot miss, we saw in December the French handball players win at Bercy, it is a dream and we want to do the same thing. As for the Olympic qualifier, we have an extremely tough pool.

Do you think this season in Kazan has given you more weapons to shine in the French team?

I hope so. In any case, what I can say is that the motivation is at its peak!

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