The joint photo from the last day of the 47th edition of the traditional memorial tournament “Branko Hadziiljoski – Chajka” best reflects the essence of the three-day program in Boris Trajkovski Hall in Skopje as a warm-up for the upcoming CEV EuroVolley 2023. Four national teams from three continents, friendly matches, but performance on the court with a visible desire to win, probably a few tactically resolved dilemmas, but also still open questions in the air about how to polish the form until the matches of greater importance.
Greece took first place in the tournament with two wins and one loss, the same as Japan, but the guests from the far east had a slightly lower points ratio and finished second. Egypt took third place with one win and two losses, and the Macedonian volleyball players were fourth with fewer points (2) than the representative of Africa (4), although they were more successful in their head-to-head match. For the host, the award for MVP of the captain Nikola Gjorjiev was a small consolation and pleasure, and the audience applauded Ryo Shimokawa from Japan who received the award for the best setter.
In the end, regardless of the results, the three-day tournament was a successful mission for all participants. Everyone was playing now for the qualitative growth with which they would meet the goals. It’s no secret, the red and yellow are looking at the Top 16 in the third CEV EuroVolley appearance in a row, but for the first time in front of the home crowd. That may create pressure, but the restlessness inside is also part of the big picture. Just like the motivation that is created facing a big challenge.