The Pakistan Volleyball Federation’s (PVF) long wait to rope in a foreign coach to prepare the team for the Olympic qualifiers ended after it finalised the appointment of a Cuban trainer.
The Cuban federation, which refused to send its coach to Pakistan, was finally convinced by the country’s ambassador, according to PVF President Mohammad Yaqoob, and will now take charge ahead of the next month’s event. The PVF has been trying to appoint a foreign coach for a while and the news has come as a sigh of relief for the officials.
“The Cuban ambassador has given us his word now,” Yaqoob told The Express Tribune. “We got the confirmation so we’re all set. We were also looking for an Iranian coach but that option was too expensive. The Iranian Volleyball Association, however, is trying to host a five-match bilateral series starting from May 26.”
Yaqoob said that the Cuban coach will stay in Pakistan for three weeks after which the team will travel to Iran for training before participating in the qualifiers that start on June 6 in Venice.
Meanwhile, the men’s volleyball team is currently preparing under the supervision of local coaches in Lahore. Pakistan will compete against seven other countries in the Olympics qualifiers.
Iranian coaches way more expensive
Sharing details about the contract, Yaqoob said the Cuban was signed up for $3,000, while an Iranian coach’s services came at a cost of $8,000. The PVF president added that the cost and Cuba’s ranking, fifth in the world, were the two most important points to consider.
“The Iranians are really good; they are the top team in Asia. But since we can’t afford them, we’ll play against them. We don’t want to sever our relations with Iran because our ranking has improved ever since we’ve started to play with them.”
National team player Farooq Khan was relieved after the development.
“A new coach will definitely help us in learning new skills,” said Farooq. “All the players are in form and all we need is a coach who can make us gel.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2012.
More in SportsUnable to talk, hear but can win gold