Volleyball Players Speak Out: “We have plenty of ambition, but lack the facilities and support” [Archives:1998/17/Sports]

April 27 1998

Volleyball is becoming increasingly popular among young men in Yemen. Like other games in Yemen, volleyball also suffers from lack of funds and facilities.
Despite the many championships organized by the Yemen Volleyball Association, the level of this game is still below expectations.
To find out more aobut the conditions of this game, Yemen Times has visited the Ahli Club in Sanaa and met some of its volleyball players and administrators:
Abdulrahman Ahmed Qayid, 23, said:
“We try to do our best in order to help advance this game in Yemen, aided by the Ahli Club management. But the club’s facilities are rather limited, so we often find ourselves seeking support from the Volleyball Association. But the latter is always complaining of lack of funds, and the little support it gets from the Ministry of Youth and Sports falls short of giving full assistance to the game.
“We feel that we are very capable of presenting good performance, but everyone knows that the our difficult financial situation is a big hindrance. Some of the players are married with children, and try to work hard to provide for their families. This pushes us to look for ordinary jobs in addition to our sports activity which does not provide any financial income.”
Kamal Ahmed Al-Hamdi, 18, said:
“I started playing volleyball at school. I joined the Ahli Club and gradually became a permanent player in their volleyball team. Throughout my training for this game, I and other players always felt that all the attention of the official sports authorities goes to football.
“The status of volleyball in Yemen will never rise if the players do not receive enough support.
“We sometimes feel afraid that one of us will be injured and will not find the necessary medical care.
“We demand that more funds and facilities be made available to encourage players to do their best to win national and international tournaments. We have great ambitions which need nurturing to prosper.”
Adel Hassan Al-Jaini, 18, said:
“The only solution for the lack of funds and support in volleyball and other games is professionalism. The private sector can sponsor sports activities, which can them be regarded as good advertising for them. Private sector establishments can sponsor individual sports clubs and pay the salaries of their outstanding players.
“If Yemeni sport continues to rely just on government support, it will not progress much.
“What makes us persevere despite the problems and difficulties is our great love for this game – volleyball. But I feel that one day we may have to abandon sport because of the continuous difficulties we face.”
Ali Hasan Al-Imad, former player and Ahli Club administrator, sad:
“When I started playing volleyball, I had great ambitions. But I was shocked by the bitter reality. Sport in Yemen is just a temporary hobby because of the lack of support and encouragement. It is no wonder then that we see young sportsmen leaving their cherished sports very early in their life. They then just practice sport as a mere hobby at the weekend.
“When I joined the club’s management, I tried to provide some support and encouragement but my hands are tied because of limited resources. The Ahli Club supplies players with sports clothes and training shoes. It also carries out maintenance work on the playing fields.
“All the Ministry of Youth and Sports does is planting lawns in football fields or building closed halls, which are only suitable for a limited number of games. The little support they give to sports clubs is just not enough.”