Winning the 10th National Women Volleyball Championship was a joyous and momentous occasion for the Wapda squad but memories and photographs are all they will have to remember the occasion by.
Lack of funds forced the organisers to hand out just a winning trophy without any sort of individual cash prize, medal, certificate or a memento.
Islamabad Sports Complex echoed with the post-win
celebration but it seems that the funding issue had not only robbed the players of their prizes but also of their rights.
“Handing out rewards is something else but the federation didn’t even provide transport facility to the participants or reimburse them for the amount they spent,” Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) Women’s Wing Vice-President Najma Anwar told The Express Tribune. “Players made their own way to the matches.”
Lack of funds a major obstacle
Funds, according to Anwar, formed a major obstacle when organising the event, adding that some coaches arranged their own funds and helped the event take place which ultimately cost Rs0.2 million.
“Lack of funds is the main hurdle faced and this is why our women’s volleyball teams are unable to play abroad.”
Maliha Latif, one of Wapda’s best players, shared Anwar’s views and agreed that Pakistan players had the ability to compete with other teams if they had the required funding. Pakistan played in India in 1998 but following that one-off opportunity, the country has been deprived of more chances.
Besides funding, cultural restrictions also have a fair share of holding back Pakistan’s talent. According to Atifa Nasir, an Islamabad player, there exist ‘many talented and energetic young girls who wish to join the sport but can’t get permission from their parents’.
Playing volleyball while at college is fine, according to Nasir, but carrying it on after starting university becomes an issue, owing to various constraints.
“This is because until college level, the participants are being provided all the facilities but from there onwards, they have to sort things out themselves, especially travelling,” added Nasir whose team captain, Aliya Riaz, used to come to the recently-concluded event from Wah Cantt via public transport. Riaz was not provided accommodation by the federation and was living with a relative for the duration of the event, thus making her stay, and future in the sport, all the more difficult.
Despite the problems, the enthusiasm exists
Meanwhile, despite the obstacles and hindrance, the motivation and the conscientiousness among girls to take up the sport, till they can actively take part, is commendable, according to Islamabad Volleyball Association Secretary Muhammad Akram.
“Despite the absence of a huge reward or future opportunities, these girls are motivated in making their career in this game,” said Akram. “They take on all sorts of challenges and try their best to prove themselves on national level with a dream to get a chance to play abroad one day.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2011.1