Pakistan to face Kazakhstan in Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball quarters
KARACHI: Pakistan on Thursday set quarter-final date with Kazakhstan when they beat Australia 3-0 in their last Group E outing of the top-eight classification stage (quarter-finals 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). 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 quarter-finals, 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 also have been unbeaten 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-to-neck before Pakistan sealed 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 win the set 25-23 to extend the lead.
In the third set, Pakistan showed more strength and won it 25-21 to complete the 3-0 rout.
Pakistan Volleyball Federation’s (PVF) chairman Chaudhry Yaqoob was happy with the team’s performance. “The team has been playing well. Today too our unit did a fine job and played on merit. Australia also extended their best but they 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).
“Pakistan are technically better than Kazakhstan. I am confident if the boys kept up playing according to their strength we would overcome the Kazakhs,” Yaqoob said.
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 would be able to oust Kazakhstan,” the Karak-born spiker said.
He was quick to add that there was no room for any mistake. “Now it’s the knock-out stage and there is no space for any mistake,” Fahad said.
Former Pakistan captain Naseer Ahmed was impressed by Pakistan’s team 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 my career I never saw such performances from either senior or junior team,” Naseer said.
He was hopeful that Pakistan would beat Kazakhstan. “The team’s morale is high. I hope the boys will play with the same rhythm against Kazakhstan,” 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 scores being 26-24, 25-23, 26-24. China overpowered Kazakhstan 3-1 with the set scores of 26-24, 25-18, 19-25, 25-10.
Japan edged past India 3-2 with the set scores 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.