ISLAMABAD - Newly-appointed national volleyball team coach Hamid Movahedi has said that Pakistanis have great potential to excel at not only Asian, but also at world level, if they are provided with international exposure and regular matches.

In an interview with The Nation on Thursday, Hamid, who was Iranian national team coach and took it to No 1 in Asia and No 4 in world, said: “Pakistan and Iran enjoy cordial relations. Pakistan Volleyball Federation (PVF) chairman Chaudhry Yaqoob enjoys close relations with the Iran Volleyball Federation (IVF) president and requested him to provide top coach to train both Pakistani male and female players. Our President can’t refuse Yaqoob and I was assigned to coach the Pakistan players.

“I have singed 6-month contract with the PVF and just came here four days back and observed both male and female players, who are physically very strong and willing to listen what is taught to them, which impressed me a lot. I started with lighter training and wanted to give them some time before starting modern day training,” he added.  Hamid said Pakistanis lacked modern-day training methods. “They had gone through old-style training in their entire careers, which is completely outdated. Volleyball has seen lot of changes and one should adopt modern day techniques to stand realistic chance of doing well in volleyball, when it comes to play at Asia or world levels.”

He said he had coached lots of clubs starting from Germany, Denmark, Qatar, Lebanon, UAE, Maldives, Spain, Iran and also coached Nepalese national teams. “I was Iranian national team coach for both men and women and led the men team to win a number of titles both at Asia and world levels.” When asked why he accepted to coach Pakistan team when he was aiming high with his national team back at home, Hamid replied: “As I told earlier that Ch Yaqoob enjoys cordial relations with our president, he deputed me for this job. I will not leave Pakistan for six months and stay in here, while my family will stay in Iran. I will take Pakistan U-21 team to Iran after two weeks for international event and then Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku.

“Actually 6-month time is too short to transform team into the best in Asia and world, but at least, I am sure I can change their style, provide them latest coaching based on modern-day techniques and make them mentally and physically very strong,” he added. He said: “Volleyball is a mental and physically fit game, and only the fittest players can survive in it. I am impressed with both male and female players available at the moment. After returning from international events, I will start a full-fledge training of the players.”

Hamid said besides conducting IVF Level-I, II and III courses, he also conducted course at various places. “I first came to Pakistan in 2000 as Iranian national team coach, when we participated in International Gold Cup in Islamabad, where we finished third. Then I visited Islamabad in 2005 as a head coach of Iranian top club Saipa to take part in Asian Club Championship, where we bagged silver medal and now this is my third visit to the country.

“My job is to take Pakistan volleyball teams to new heights. I am confident that within two to three years training and hard work, Pakistanis male and female national teams can grab significant positions at Asian and world level. But for it, there is a dire need to provide the players much-needed international exposure, as without matches and international tours, we can’t produce results,” he added.

“I will have a meeting with PVF chairman Ch Yaqoob and I will submit my detailed report regarding future plans to him. I am sure if the things go on according to my plan, Pakistan will be a force to reckon with in volleyball world. I also strongly suggest the PVF to conduct volleyball league, which can also help the game excel and flourish in the country,” Hamid concluded.