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Scant resources mar volley ball team for taking part in domestic, int’l events

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By Akhtar M. Nikzad: General Directorate of Physical Education and Sports of Afghanistan (GDPESA) said the women’s national volleyball team cannot participate in the friendly matches and international sport events due to lack of capacity and capability.

In an interview with Afghanistan Times, the deputy chief of Afghanistan National Volleyball Federation (ANVF), Harif Payman, said the women’s national volleyball team is not fully prepared for participation in friendly competitions and international tournaments because the players need more trainings and practice.

Remarks of Payman acknowledge the fact that after 13 years of support provided by the international community for improvement of women’s lifestyle; still the ground is not prepared for women and girls to have equal rights like men. At this point, the mind-boggling question to ask is indeed that where the problem. Is ANVF unable to train the players or there are some restrictions and favoritism?

“For formation of competent national team, it requires suitable playground, regular exercises, financial support and technical facilities including salary, transportation and food. Unfortunately, our sportswomen have no access to these facilities,” he pointed out.

Regarding to their exercise he said that sportswomen practice three hours in a week without financial support and attention to the problems of volleyball players to get them ready for international events is quite difficult. The female players are not in the position to upset their rival volleyball teams in the playground. “The volleyball federation trained the sportswomen according to the available but their performance remained poor in international championships,” he said.

Payman maintained that despite meager resources and insufficient support on part of the relevant governmental organization, girls are fond of volleyball and their presence increased as compared to the past few years. Girls feel confident because volleyball is a sport that girls are found of and every year a considerable number of talented girls approach the volleyball federation for memberships.

Female players are divided into three different categories including seniors, youth and teenagers. Around 500 girls are members of the volleyball federation. The federation has selected teams in Herat, Balkh, Daikundi, Ghazni and Parwan provinces. Other provinces have no female volleyball team due to insecurity and some social restrictions.

Regarding the national volleyball competitions, the deputy chief of the federation said that these competitions are going to be held in May this year in four zones. Afterward the final competitions would be organized in Kabul to select the talented players for the national women team. Hamida, 21 years old volleyball player, is practicing hard to excel. She said that volleyball is an interesting sport for girls and feel confident when compared to other sports. “The volleyball federation failed to improve skills of female players in the past 13 years. Afghan girls are talented and capable of upsetting best teams but if support was provided,” she said with disappointment.

She said that in the last five years some girls came to the gymnasium despite many challenges to practice volleyball, but still the authorities say that they are not fit for competitions held abroad. “The obvious answer is that the Directorate of Physical Education and Sports of Afghanistan is not doing its job properly,” she said.

Criticizing the relevant authorities for discriminatory attitude, another player of the women team Naism said that the directorate of physical education and sports does not pay attention to resolve problems of sportswomen.

She told Afghanistan Times that girls are practicing hard and defied social challenges to prove their mettle in the tournaments. “They get low salary but still they want to do something for their country, however, they have been deprived of the opportunities. Female volleyball players are becoming hopeless with every passing day,” she deplored.

Khatera Karimi, a member of them volleyball team, said that girls are solicitous of volleyball but due to lack of facilities in the federation they are not ready to come for exercise. She suggested that if the authorities pave the ground for improvement of sport, girls would have more contribution.

“Despite many problems and restrictions in the volleyball federation we had considerable scores in foreign competitions as we won from India and Tajikistan in the friendly matches,” she reminded.

She stressed that Ministry of Education could play vital role to promote sports. She said the ministry should promote sports through schools and universities while organizing matches between girls’ teams.

Marzia Ogholi, an athlete and physician who left the country 25 years ago due to wars in Afghanistan, said that success of the national women volleyball team depends on availability of the opportunities.

“Nearly 25 years ago when I was a young girl, I played volleyball with my teammates but then war washed away the opportunities and I cannot succeed in achieving my goals,” she recalled while adding that she still feel comfortable because volleyball is a sport effective for all ages. She urged people to allow their daughters to play sports.

For the first time volleyball was promoted in 1944 by establishment of the sport department in 1956. At the same time a number of foreign volleyball coaches came to Afghanistan for training of Afghan players.

The volleyball federation was inaugurated in 1975. The federation received membership of the International Volleyball Federation in 1980.