The PVF chairman has a detailed plan to widen volleyball players’ base and ultimately win international competitions
Pakistan is regarded as one of the nations with the highest volleyball potential in Asia. Although the country's senior team's growth has faced numerous hiccups and has never been consistent, mainly due to financial issues, overall its performance in the continental circuit is not that bad. Pakistan is capable of beating even the top teams of Asia.
Luckily, the country has been producing top talent over the years. What we lack is a professional league and extensive foreign exposure. Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) aims to launch its own professional league in the near future which may really transform the country's volleyball in the years to come.
In the 1989 Seoul Asian Championship, Pakistan's senior team finished fourth when it lost to China in the third-place game 3-2. That has been the best-ever performance from Pakistan at the continental level. However, since then the brigade has mostly finished seventh, eighth or even lower in the Asian Championships.
The PVF is working hard to engage sponsors in order to develop the game at various levels. The other day the federation entered into a deal with Engro. The union may help in the long run.
Let's ask the PVF chairman Chaudhry Mohammad Yaqoob and he will tell you about the deal and other related matters including his plans to develop the sport which has a huge base.
"The PVF has entered into an agreement with Engro Pakistan to develop volleyball. The development activity will require developing a continuous stream of young and more talented players to replace the members of the present team," Yaqoob told 'The News on Sunday' (TNS) in an interview following the landmark Engro-PVF deal in Lahore.
"To achieve that we need to develop national outfits of different age-groups (Under-16, Under-18, Under-20 and Under-23). This is important because only a big pool of players can sustain present ranking and with higher quality of future intake of talent the level can go up gradually," Yaqoob said.
"Developing, increasing and improving the quality of local clubs is one of the most important requirements as only clubs produce new talent. The educational institutions must be involved to develop volleyball in schools, colleges and universities. The federation will start college and university competitions if more funds become available," he said.
"Holding the club competitions at the zonal, civil, division, provincial and national levels will also help in developing a data bank of players and clubs. The winning clubs at all three levels of competitions shall be financially rewarded to make them financially sustainable.
It will motivate other clubs," said Yaqoob, also a former top police official.
"During the club competitions the young talent shall be selected for regional training camps at eight places in the country for a period of three months every year after the club championships. Besides this, inter-camp competitions shall be held to select 20 most talented boys of under-18 group for holding national youth camp for three to four months," he said.
"National training camps of different age-groups for international competitions will be held as per Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) calendar. The national team, after a few months training, shall be sent to play against stronger teams abroad so that the boys get exposure and experience for the high-level competitions. If the finances are there, training camps shall be held in different countries and during camps there the team shall play matches with local clubs and national teams of different age-groups," he said.
"The above system of training and competitions is the only way forward for achieving high goals. The continuous inflow of new talent shall be managed through widening the base of the sport. If our national team records victories in Asia or at the world level it will create motivation in the young talent and they will adopt the sport as a career," he said.
"Holding of the professional league every year will give more incentive as the players will earn for themselves and make volleyball a career. Those getting selected to play leagues abroad will also motivate youngsters. Hosting international tournaments in Pakistan and its coverage on electronic and digital platforms will make volleyball an attractive sport for the young. And, finally, it is hoped that as the Pakistan volleyball team stands at the podium in any future competition, more sponsors will get attracted to this sport," Yaqoob signed off.