National senior volleyballers to assemble at POF Wah on May 6

Alam Zeb Safi
Sunday, Apr 24, 2022

KARACHI: National senior volleyballers will assemble at POF Wah on May 6 to kick-start their preparations for a number of international events which will be held in the next few months.

The seniors will return to activity after seven months — the Asian Championship in September last year in Japan was their last assignment.

“Yes, we have invited 24 players for the camp which we plan to begin at POF Wah from May 6,” Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) chairman Chaudhry Yaqoob told ‘The News’ in an interview.

The seniors are to participate in AVC Cup to be held in Chinese Taipei from August 7-14. It will be immediately followed by Islamic Games to be held in the same month in Konya, Turkey. It will be followed by the Asian Games pencilled in for September 10-25 in Hangzhou, China. And in October Pakistan plans to host Asian Central Zone Volleyball tournament in Islamabad in which six nations will showcase their worth. This will be after a decade that Pakistan will be hosting this event.

“It will be a six-nation event. India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and one or two more nations will feature,” Yaqoob said.

He also revealed that the camp of Pakistan Under-20 team is also being shifted to POF Wah and both senior and under-20 sides will be trained by the Brazilian coach Cristiano Rodrigues Campos who is currently handling the Under-20 team camp being held at the Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad to prepare for the 21st Asian Men’s Under-20 Volleyball Championship slated to be held in Riffa, Bahrain, from August 22-29.

The camp is being shifted because there is no air-conditioned facility at the Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad. A senior official of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) told ‘The News’ on Saturday that the renovation work of the Liaquat Gymnasium is in progress and the air-conditioning system is also being established.

However, the official said that the Board will back one volleyball team. “We are looking after the Under-20 team,” the official said.

The Under-20 team camp will be closed on April 29 and they will resume their training at POF Wah from May 8.

Asked how Cristiano will be able to handle both sides, Yaqoob said that their plan is to form a 60-man top pool from which players will be picked for seniors, juniors and youth events. “It will be a joint effort and we are going to get ample benefit of the presence of Cristiano who seems to be a very good coach,” he said.

Yaqoob said that the PVF plans to launch the first-ever pro League in November-December. “We have entered into a deal with Trans Group, which has also been approved by our ExCo and it will be a dream come true as it will raise the standard of the game,” he said.

He said it will be on the pattern of PSL and will have six teams in the first edition with foreign players from Brazil, Italy, Iran and other nations expected to be part of the showpiece.

“This is high time for us to go for such a league. This is the main tool to promote the game and capture the interest of youth. I am very hopeful that we will see improvement in the graph of volleyball in the country,” said Yaqoob, also a former top police official.