HEFEI (CHINA) - Pakistan national netball player Hamood-ur-Rehman has said that Pakistan can take huge benefit from Chinese counterparts in taking netball to new heights.

Talking to The Nation, Hamood, who had honour of representing Pakistan netball team in various national and international events and also a part of Pakistan youth delegation in China, said: “I have visited several sports facilities in Beijing including Beijing Sports University. The way Chinese have been investing heavily on their youth is a clear indication that how serious they are in not only challenging USA but also ready to overtake USA as world sports undisputed kings.”

He said he had played basketball as well and the way Chinese are working on basketball is really impressive, which is their number one sport. He also played for Sadiq Public School Bahawalpur against Chinese Youth basketball team. “The Chinese are working on highly professional manner on basketball. They have different age group team and hired top professional coaches and former national players to train them.

“Netball is gaining huge popularity in China. Although Pakistan Netball Federation (PNF) president Mudassar Arain has really been struggling hard for the promotion of the game, even then we need huge financial support from government to stand realistic chances of performing at international stage. I have been playing netball for last 12 years. I am now 29 and can play for few more years, but as a senior member of Pakistan team, I sincerely want that the youth should not face the issues, which we had to bear. There is dire need to provide the players jobs and international standard facilities including coaches and exposure.  “Holding just one national championship annually is not enough to produce good results. Corporate sector and IPC ministry need to step forward and provide sufficient funds to the PNF, if they want Pakistan players excel at international level,” he added.

Hamood, who had played 12 national championships, won silver medal in Asian men’s netball championship in Malaysia, represented HEC and now playing for Sindh, said that he had coached Wahaj Hussain School Systems, which is one of the best schools in Karachi. “I want to pass on my knowledge to youth in the best possible fashion. After watching Chinese players and athletes, one thing is crystal clear that we are not less than any top athlete but we just lack facilities and international exposure. If Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) arranges top professional coaches for male and female teams, Pakistani players will start earning laurels for Pakistan.”

He said he is grateful to Chinese government for arranging Pakistan youth delegation’s visit to China, which will bring both the nations closer and help Pakistan athletes in learning and improving their knowledge and techniques. “I know IPC minister Riaz Pirzada, who is also a keen sports lover, would surely asked PSB Director General Akhtar Ganjera to enhance netball federation grant, allocate special funds, arrange international tours and top coaches for them, who may impart training to our male and female teams. If this happens, Pakistan netball team is bound to excel.”

Pointing towards Pakistan netball team performance in the Second Asian Netball Championship final, where the national team remained unbeatable but lost only to India 50-51, he said: “We thrashed India in the pool match by 30 points margin, but it was only lack of international exposure, which deprived Pakistan of title victory. There is a dire need to support Pakistan netball team as it would help them win laurels for the country,” Hamood concluded.

Sharing her views, Pakistan women netball team player Nayab Razia, who had played in 10 national championships, represented Army for two years and presently playing for national champions Sindh, said: “We had always played exceptionally but we were never given international experience. I had played twice at Asian level in Sri Lanka, although we didn’t win any title yet, but we pose real threat and recorded upset victories against a number of opponents.”

“I don’t have any job despite representing the country for 12 years. Same is the case with a number of top female players. The government must provide jobs to the players and arrange international training for them. I also want to thank PNF president Mudassar Arain for providing different facilities to us despite financial restrains. We need international coaches and training abroad, so I request the IPC minister and PSB DG to announce special grant for this purpose,” Nayyab concluded.