Following almost eight long years, the Bangladesh Volleyball Federation has seriously taken initiatives to form the national women’s team as the two-day long trial got underway at Dhaka Volleyball Stadium in Paltan on Sunday.
With the aim of participating and winning a medal in the upcoming South Asian Games, the volleyball federation is planning to arrange long-term residential training camp for the national women’s team for the first time in several years.
Bangladesh women’s team’s last activity took place three years ago during the Asian Senior Central Zone Tournament in Nepal. The team were drafted through an open trial without any long-term camp. Prior to that, the trial and camp were held in 2009 ahead of the 2010 SA Games. Later however, the team didn’t take part in the event.
Due to lack of initiatives, activities and quality, the national women’s volleyball side also didn’t participate in the 2016 SA Games in India. The federation, for the first time, is targeting a two-year long camp and continuous activity of the women’s team so that they can show their worth in south Asia.
A total of 55 female players, including many from the last national team, joined the open trial on Sunday, informed federation joint secretary Mohammad Fazle Rabbi but women’s volleyball committee secretary Nibedita Das said the number is around 80. The press release on the other hand stated 85.
Nibedita informed that the participants came from three service teams - Bangladesh Police (seven), BJMC and Ansar & VDP (14 each) and different districts like Rajshahi, Pabna, Khagrachari, Khulna, Chittagong and Kishoreganj. Highest 15 players hail from Narayanganj.
Ifad Group has provided the federation with a sum of Tk5,00,000 for the trial and preliminary stage of training camp, informed Rabbi. He also told Dhaka Tribune that they will choose 20 players from the trial and continue the camp for as long as possible with a break for Eid.
The federation is also seeking funds from the National Sports Council and Bangladesh Olympic Association in order to continue the camp for the long term.
“We didn’t have the national women’s team. We are trying to arrange a team. It’s really difficult to form a women’s team, compared to the men,’’ said Rabbi.
He added, “We have international tournaments in India in November and want to send the team there in September. Our prime goal regarding the women’s team is to participate in the SA Games and win a medal.”
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Bangladesh volleyball team captain Al Zabir DHAKA TRIBUNE/Shishir Hoque
Meanwhile, there has been no activity of the men’s volleyball team in the last six months since their success in the Bangabandhu Central Zone Tournament. Currently, the national team members are engaged in different service teams where they work and train. National captain Al Zabir is one of them who works for Titas Gas and plays for the club.
Zabir’s 13-year-long playing career featured five different clubs before he settled at Titas Club. He has been captaining the national team for the last two years.
Zabir said, “We played our previous tournament in December last year. Then there was no activity. We don’t know what is our next schedule. It’s sad that we have been sitting idle. There are many international tournaments every year but we don’t even take part. There might be reasons but we players don’t know.”
In his defence, Rabbi said, “We trained the senior team for three years. We sent them to the World Cup qualifiers, SA Games. Then they became champion in the Bangabandhu tournament. Now we are trying to pick players from the pipeline. We arranged training for U-19 team and want to boost them up. We are also preparing U-16 and U-21 teams to build better senior team in future.”