Pakistan enter Asian U-23 Volleyball quarters
KARACHI: Pakistan on Thursday set quarterfinal date with Kazakhstan when they maintained their winning streak after beating Australia 3-0 in their last Group E outing of the top-eight classification stage (quarterfinals league) of the 3rd Asian Men’s Under-23 Volleyball Championships at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on Wednesday.
The quarter-final will be held on Friday (today). After the outcome of Thursday’s fixtures Pakistan topped Group E while Kazakhstan finished fourth in their four-team Group F. So as per rules both will meet in the quarter-final.
In other quarterfinals Japan will face Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei will meet China and India will lock horns with Australia. Pakistan’s victory against Australia was the fifth straight in the 16-team event.
Japan are the others who remained undefeated in the competitions so far. Pakistan did a remarkable job against Australia in the crucial game. The first set turned out to be very close as each side went neck in neck before Pakistan sealing a hard-earned 29-27 victory to take 1-0 lead. The same fight was repeated in the second set.
However, Pakistan, in the end, managed to lift the set 25-23 to extend the lead. In the third set Pakistan showed more grace, winning it 25-21 to complete the 3-0 rout. Pakistan Volleyball Federation’s (PVF) chairman Chaudhry Mohammad Yaqoob was happy with his team’s so far performance. “The team has been playing well. Today too our unit did a fine job and played on merit. Australia also extended their best. Australians played slow game while our team showed speed,” Yaqoob told ‘The News’ from Myanmar. He hoped that his team would beat Kazakhstan in the quarter-final on Friday (today).
Meanwhile Pakistan captain Fahad Raza said if boys worked hard they would beat Kazakhstan. “Today we played good volleyball. I am confident if the boys played with dedication tomorrow we will be able to oust Kazakhstan,” Karak-born spiker said.
He was quick to add that now there was no room for any mistake.
Former Pakistan captain Naseer Ahmed was really impressed by Pakistan’s team so far performance.
“It has been outstanding so far,” Naseer told ‘The News’ on Thursday.
“The team is winning matches in rhythm. In Pakistan’s volleyball history this is the first time that any team of the country has played so impressively in any event. In my career I have never seen such performances from Pakistan senior and junior teams,” Naseer said.
He was hopeful that Pakistan would beat Kazakhstan on Friday (today) to make it to the semifinals.
“The team’s morale is high. I hope the boys will continue to play with the same rhythm against Kazakhstan tomorrow,” said Naseer, who led Pakistan for ten long years.
Naseer still plays professional volleyball and will go to Lebanon in December for his next stint.
In other matches on Thursday, Chinese Taipei defeated Sri Lanka 3-0 with the set score being 26-24, 25-23, 26-24. China overpowered Kazakhstan 3-1 with the set score of 26-24, 25-18, 19-25, 25-10.
Japan edged past India 3-2 with the set score of 20-25, 25-18, 25-23, 18-25 and 15-12.
At the end of the top-eight classification stage Pakistan topped Group E. They were followed by Chinese Taipei, Australia and Sri Lanka. Japan emerged as Group F winners and were followed by India, China and Kazakhstan.