ISLAMABAD - Iranian Kabaddi Federation (IKF) president M Reza Maghsood Lou has expressed utter satisfaction over his kabaddi team’s visit to Pakistan saying both the teams enjoyed training and practice that will help them in the upcoming international assignments.

Talking to The Nation, Reza said: “We had brought six top players with two players Farhad and Abbas Karoki had played in the Asian Games gold medal winning team, while eight players were relatively young and had not experience of playing at international level. It was a great learning experience for both set of players while Pakistan team will also get benefit from the training and practice matches in the upcoming South Asian Games in India.” He said the matches and training session between both brotherly countries would further cement their ties and bring closer masses through sports. “We are highly grateful to PKF secretary Rana Sarwar, who extended invitation to us and also thankful to Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General for their warm hospitality and provision of international-standard venues for practice and training.

“Now we will invite both male and female junior kabaddi teams of Pakistan for the upcoming Asian Junior Kabaddi Championship, which will be held in April in Urmia, Iran. We will also invite Pakistan senior team for training alongside Iranian team prior to start of the Asian Beach Games in Vietnam in September,” he added. When asked about further exchange programmes between the two countries in other sports as well, he replied: “it’s a good idea and I will discuss it with his counterparts upon his return and will use his good offices to convince Iranian federations to lend helping hand to Pakistan in different sports.”

Sharing his views, Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) secretary Rana Sarwar appreciated the IKF President goodwill gesture and lauded his team for accepting invitation and sending 14 top players which had helped Pakistan team a great deal and without their cooperation, it couldn’t as good as it remained.

Sarwar lauded PSB Director General, IPC Minister Mian Riaz for whole-hearted backing and making available facilities and venues for both the teams. “We will leave for Guwati on February 6. Our matches will start on February 10, arriving a bit earlier to India will help the players a great deal in adjusting to the conditions and preparing themselves for the important matches.

“I am hopeful of our chances of lifting gold and doing well in ladies event as well. Nasir, Waseem, Kashif and Abrar Hussain played really well and other boys also played satisfactory. We will take 12 players for South Asian Games,” Sarwar concluded.

PAKISTAN BEAT IRAN 3-0 IN KABADDI SERIES: Pakistan and Iranian teams played three friendly matches which went right down to the wire, before Pakistan managed to prevail and edge Iranians 3-0. Pakistan won the first match 40-34, second 34-32 and the third one 44-42. In the third and final match, Iran kept the pressure and was leading the first half 24-16, but in the second half, Pakistani players led by national team skipper Nasir bounced back in style and not only managed to reduce the gap, but also led the points table for the very first time. Iranian players did try to put up resistance, but Pakistani team ensured slight lead and won the encounter 44-42 and also clinched the three-match practice series 3-0.

The 14-member Iranian team with three officials will return home tomorrow (Sunday).