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Pak volleyballers land foreign contracts after Asian Games

November 29, 2023

LAHORE: Pakistan men’s volleyball team’s fifth place finish in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou held recently has benefitted a lot of the top seeds of the brigade.

For the first time in Pakistan‘s volleyball history six volleyballers are featuring currently in professional leagues of different countries. Of the six, three were extended offers due to their solid performances in the Hangzhou Asian Games while the other three had already been signed by foreign clubs as they have been playing foreign leagues for the last few years.

The logo of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou. —x/19thAGHZ2022
The logo of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou. —x/19thAGHZ2022

Former Pakistan captain Aimal Khan, Musawar Khan, Usman Faryad Ali, Murad Junior, Murad Jehan Senior and Afaq Khan are playing in foreign leagues. Aimal plays for Iran’s club Eefa Ceram, Murad Jehan Senior is associated with Oman’s Al-Salam Club, Murad Junior is playing for Bulgaria’s Burgas Club, Agaq Khan is representing Atyrau Volleyball Club in the Kazakhstan’s league while Musawar Khan and Usman Faryad Ali are representing Khorasan Ramsar in Iran’s league.

Usman, Musawar and Afaq have been signed because of their performances in the Asian Games while Aimal, Murad Junior and Murad Senior had already finalised their deals with their respective clubs, a source well aware of their deals told ‘The News’.

Aimal is the most senior one, having played in leagues in Oman, Chinese Taipei, Maldives, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey and Indonesia. Aimal was not part of Pakistan’s Asian Games squad.

“Two other boys have also been extended offers by clubs in Qatar and Lebanon. We have got demand from eight to ten foreign clubs. Army’s players face NOC issue and if they get NOC then our two more boys will be adjusted in foreign leagues,” Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) chairman Chaudhry Mohammad Yaqoob told The News. “Fakhar has got an offer from a Qatari club while Zaheer has got an offer from a club from Lebanon,” he was quick to add.

“Because of the top performance of Pakistan in the Asian Games clubs have shown interest in Pakistani players. And because of that the Brazilian coach has also got offers,” Yaqoob said. “The next two to three years are important. If we are able to come on the victory stand in the Asian Championship and qualify for the World Championship then the things will change inshaAllah,” said Yaqoob, also a former IG Police. He said that the PVF’s main plan is to hold a professional league and an international event next year.

“We are also trying to host a three or four-nation international event. We have the option to invite Qatar and Iran so that our boys could get experience. We will also feature in the Challenge Cup in May in Bahrain,” Yaqoob said. “Next month our meeting of the Central Zone will be held in Thailand and there we will decide which nations will be invited to Pakistan,” he said.

“We also plan to hold a league this year and we are looking for a time-frame. We are looking for a window where we could get foreign players as they are usually engaged in foreign leagues which span over six months,” Yaqoob said.