ISLAMABAD-Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) chairman Chaudhry M Yaqoob has said that the national volleyball team will leave for Qatar on July 16 to play a three national tournament.

Addressing a press conference here at Pakistan Sports Complex media centre on Wednesday, Yaqoob said: “We are sending 14-member team to Qatar on July 16 to play three-nation tournament involving Qatar and Iraq. We wrote a letter to Qatar to play series against us prior to start of the championship and they very kindly agreed to provide us free accommodation and meal and also invited Iraq to play three competitive matches.

“We will land Indonesia two days earlier than the commencement of Asian Senior Volleyball Championship, which will begin from July 24 in Indonesia. We will try to play practice match against Japan or any other country, which will give us chance to prepare well for the mega event,” he added.

He said: “Pakistan team is placed in Pool-B, which include the likes of Asian champion Iran, Chinese Taipei and Iraq. Although the pool is very tough, yet we are quite hopeful of doing well in the event. We are sending 14 players according to new rules as in the past, 12 players were allowed. Experienced Naseer will lead the national side.

“We hired Iranian top national coach despite our limited resources. We are paying only $3,500 monthly to Iranian coach, which I know is a very meager amount, if we see his experience and knowledge. But I have promised the Iranian Volleyball Federation (IVF) president that as soon as our finances are improved, I will raise his salary. Like Iran, we also need to invest heavily in volleyball as this is the only thing, which help us improve our international ranking,” he added.

The PVF president said: “We are also planning to hold first-ever volleyball league in October 6 in which 8 teams will be in action. We will invite international players and each team will accommodate two international players. The league will help the players learn from top international players and also make them financially strong.

“For the time being, only KP and Punjab are producing players and I hope Sindh, Balochistan and other areas will also provide players to the national team. We are working on long and short term plans. We have combination of youth and experienced players in the national side. We have very tall players in our team, as their height begins from at least 6.3 inches to maximum 6.6 inches. Having such heighted players can help us produce better results at international level,” Yaqoob concluded.