By our correspondent
KARACHI: Pakistan’s experienced professional volleyballer Murad Khan has said that the national team missed a golden opportunity of reaching the semi-finals in the recently-concluded 21st Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship in Chiba and Funabashi, Japan, where the Green-shirts finished seventh.
“We missed a golden opportunity of qualifying for the semi-finals as the teams involved in the event were not too strong,” Murad told this correspondent from his hometown Bannu in an interview. Murad himself missed the event due to back injury despite having attended the camp under the Iranian coach Rahman Mohammadirad at Lahore.
“We should have won the game in the quarter-finals stage against Chinese Taipei. We could have beaten them as we used to beat them straight. Had we won that game we would have been in the semi-finals. It was a big miss and I don’t think we will ever be able in future to get such a golden chance of reaching the last four stage,” said Murad, who has vast experience of playing professional leagues in various countries.
“South Korea was a young side as I did not see any boy which was part of its previous squad against whom I have played. It was totally a young lot and we also beat them. Next time teams would work hard and it would be again a difficult task for the Green-shirts to click,” Murad said. “Last time we played a tough game against strong Australia as we lost to them 3-2 in the quarter-finals and Australia then went on to reach the final where they tasted a defeat against Iran. But Australia at that time were very tough as they had also beaten Iran in the group stage,” Murad recalled. “Personally, I think we could have finished much better and I am not satisfied with the performance of the team in Japan,” Murad said.
Murad said Pakistan needs a proper set-up for players development.
“If we want to develop our volleyball we will need a proper system and we direly need a professional league as it will help the players financially develop and will relieve burden from them and they will then solely focus on their game development. If you bring in even a world-class coach I don;t think we will be able to rise our standard unless we make a proper set-up for players grooming,” Murad said.
About his back injury Murad said he has been fighting against it. “It has really unsettled me. Iranian coach told me during camp if I go to Iran I will be able to recover within a week as they have a proper system in place regarding treatment of sports injuries. But due to covid its not easy to go there as you need a lengthy documentation for that and its hectic. In Pakistan I did try to treat it but to no avail. You cannot go for a surgery as it will kill your sports life,” Murad said. However he said that he is battling against the injury and will make a comeback. “InshaAllah I will make a comeback,” Murad said.