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September 22, 2019

Pakistan edge India to finish seventh in Asian Volleyball


September 22, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan on Saturday took a sigh of relief when they finished seventh after beating India 3-2 in their 7th-place fixture of the 20th Asian Seniors Men’s Volleyball Championship in Tehran.

It was a tough battle as both the arch-rivals never let each other dominate the gripping game.

Pakistan, who had also beaten India in last year’s Asian Games, started well when they lifted the first two sets 25-23, 25-21 to set the platform for a win. But India had thought otherwise as they staged a stunning fightback, winning the next two sets 25-20 and 25-19 to bring parity.

However, unlike in their quarter-final against Australia, Pakistan did well this time in the fifth and decisive set. They won it quite convincingly 15-6 to seal a solid triumph.

“It is encouraging for Pakistan volleyball. By making a place in the quarter-finals, Pakistan have also qualified for the Olympic qualifiers to be held in China in January,” Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) said after the country’s fine win over India.

“Pakistan were very close to defeating Australia as they went down 3-2 against them after winning the first two sets in the quarter-final. Australia have qualified for the final. Had Pakistan won against Australia we could have been on the victory stand. But luck did not favour our team,” the PVF said.

“In today’s match, Pakistan initially played according to the plan and won the opening two sets. However, in the third and fourth sets, the reception of serves got disturbed and resultantly good combined attacks could not be made. However, the fifth set was won convincingly by Pakistan 15-6 and that mattered,” the federation added.

“In today’s game, captain Aimal Khan and Mubashir Raza played an outstanding game. Aimal was ferocious in attack and Mubashir received and defended smartly. He also attacked quite well. Mubashir won some important points for the team at crucial stages despite back injury,” the PVF said.

Mubashir had missed a vital game against China on Friday due to an injury which he picked in the third set against Australia in the quarter-finals. “Murad supported them well but had he played the game with his full potential the match result could have been much better and we could have won it,” the PVF conceded.

“Aimal has played outstandingly throughout this championship and many countries have contacted him to play in their professional leagues. He is being offered Rs8million for a league of three months. It may be pointed out that a number of Pakistani players like Murad, Mubashir and Waseem already play leagues in different countries besides Aimal,” the federation said.

The PVF stressed that the state should continue extending its support to volleyball in which the country had enormous potential. “The Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) should maintain the contract of Korean coach as it is very important for the game at this stage if we are to win gold in the South Asian Games. Both India and Sri Lanka have employed foreign coaches,” the PVF said.

India have Serbian coach while Sri Lanka have hired two Cuban coaches for both their men’s and women’s teams. The South Asian Games are slated to be held in Nepal from December 1-10.

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