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Saturday June 22, 2024

Aussie coach Daniel rates Pakistan as quality team

By Abdul Mohi Shah
May 28, 2024
Australian volleyball team Head Coach Daniel Ilott.— Volleybox.net/file
Australian volleyball team Head Coach Daniel Ilott.— Volleybox.net/file  

ISLAMABAD: Australian volleyball team Head Coach Daniel Ilott rated Pakistan as one of the finest teams around, saying that the decision to tour the country was taken purely considering their standard and the rapid improvement the team has shown.

In a media talk Monday, Ilott said that tour, the first ever by an Australia volleyball team, was aimed at preparing for the Challenge Cup to be held next month in Bahrain. “When you play against a quality team there is always a chance of improvement. That is what we aimed at during the three-match series to be played for the very first time. Pakistan have shown remarkable improvement in the recent past. It is indeed a growing sport in the country.”

The Australian head coach said that his Pakistani counterpart Ruben Wolochin played role in arranging the series. “Pakistan team head coach is a friend of mine. He has played an instrumental role in organizing the series. I am also thankful to Pakistan volleyball for creating a window for the series.”

Daniel Ilott said there had been ups and downs in Australian volleyball. “We have some issues back home as I am the fourth coach of the national team during the last four years. We are in a rebuilding process. The team is a mixture of youth and experience. Despite that we have managed to raise a very good side which possibly is the best in six years’ time. Volleyball has never been a top sport in Australia. Cricket, rugby, and Australian football are the most followed games. We do organize volleyball league but the standard improves mainly because our top players play international leagues around the world.”

Australian team captain Nehemiah Mote hoped to see a very competitive three-match series. “We are looking forward to a very close and competitive series against Pakistan. We are also expecting a good crowd to watch the series. Though this is my first trip to Pakistan, my experience so far has been great. People here are welcoming and really helpful starting from Islamabad International Airport to hotel.”

Ruben Wolochin was excited at the prospects of the series following his team’s impressive performance in the Central Asian CAVA League. “Some of the Pakistan players gave a brilliant display of spiking power, earning praise from the crowd. Though Australia has got a powerful team, I hope in-form Pakistan will make the best use of the opportunity coming their way.”

Ch Mohammad Yaqoob was unhappy with the faulty Liaquat Gymnasium cooling system that has been left redundant for the last 24 years now. “It is a sorry state of affairs as the state of the art facility -- Liaquat Gymnasium has been mismanaged. There is no cooling system so we had to get chillers on rent to make the atmosphere a bit friendly amid hot and tough weather.”

He hoped that the forthcoming series would further foster the relationship between the two countries. “Pakistan has improved rapidly. I have told players that the federation will fully support them. At the end players’ personal effort and hard work hold greater value.”