Iranian in hijab joins Bulgarian volleyball team – Photo

The 29-year-old Iranian attacker arrived in the northeast Bulgarian city of Shumen on January 9 and is already training with the local team, which currently rates sixth in the national female volleyball league.

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Borhani will continue playing for the Iranian national volleyball team and is leaving next week for the Maldives to play for her country, YEB Shumen’s manager Mehmed Basharan told BIRN on Monday.

She is expected to play the first game with her new Bulgarian team on February 3.

Basharan explained that he has been following Iranian players for some years and so discovered that female volleyball players are not very well paid in Iran.

He approached Borhani with an offer which she accepted, but her transfer had to be approved by the Iranian Volleyball Federation and by the Iranian Sports Ministry.

Their only condition was that the athlete must continue to play wearing a hijab – mandatory in Iran – and long leggings – just as she does for the Iranian national team.

After reaching a deal on Borhani, YEB Shumen’s manager attracted a second Iranian player to his team – the 33-year-old captain of the Iranian national team, Zeynab Ali Guveh, who arrived in Bulgaria on January 13.

The manager said the hijab was no big deal. “Nobody notices it. They [the team] are such a united collective. It feels like they [the Iranians] are at home,” Basharan said when asked about the way the other members of the team had reacted.

“I am proud of my hijab, I am proud of my religion and I hope that the Bulgarian people will accept that,” Borhani said in an interview for Bulgarian National Television on Monday.

She added that competing in the Bulgarian volleyball league is a big step for her.

 “I hope to improve my level. We do not have other players who have made transfers abroad – I am the first one,” the Iranian noted.

YEB Shumen 05 has high hopes for the Iranian star volleyball players, with whom it has reached its quota for foreign players from countries outside the EU.

“We will play for first place in the national league this year. For the next one, we are playing to enter the European championship,” manager Mehmed Basharan said.


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