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Setting things up in front
Moni Mathews / 9 July 2012
Sixteen-year-old Mohammad Sabith creates situations near the net for telling spikes.Thatís the job set up for him, something which he knows best how to execute.
This is not surprising considering the background he comes from. His grandfather was a leading player and one of the regular first-6 Indian players from Kerala in the 60s to play in international championships.
Sabith’s father Mohammad Sagheer, a UAE resident, is a former district and state level player himself.
The Emirates National School-Sharjah setter (Sabith) who has been making it a habit of sweeping the playmaker/setter individual awards at the major club events here, is now eyeing for higher goals like a university degree along with a chance to train in a more professional atmosphere.
He has been playing regularly not only for some of the leading clubs here but also for Al Nasr Club as a guest trainee/player till three years back when the rules here allowed expat children born here, to be part of the national clubs training programmes.
His younger brother Zamrood, a 11-year-old at the same school, too is a fast learner when it comes to the finer aspects of the game. He turned up for the sub-junior teams of the all-blue Dubai club in chosen events and warm-up matches some years back, and has won awards as the most promising player in school and junior tournaments in the UAE.
“All of us are most grateful to Al Nasr Club where Sabith and Zamrood were initiated so well by the coaches during their early years when they were allowed to play there actively,” said Sagheer
“What I aim for is natural for everyone my age to wish for. To play for my country one day and with that attain a good job after my higher studies,” said Sabith.
After his second straight playmaker prize at a UAE tournament this season, Sabith is very confident that with his father’s help and guidance, he will make the grade one day.
Sagheer, a part-time coach and administrator in the game in the UAE said: “There is potential in him (Sabith) and my younger son (Zamrood) but the road is still very long before they can think in terms of university, state and national representation back home. The standards there are very high especially in the youth scene where India a few years back were the world youth runners-up.”
“The recent award is my second prize for the playmaker’s role I take up for my team. There is nothing like a beautiful set for a run in or jump smash to be executed smoothly. The pleasure one derives from a good setup is perhaps more than the actual winning shot by the spiker himself. Then comes the important aspect of varying one’s lift from the high traditional one to the flatter type to take the opposition by surprise. It could sometimes even be a net ‘drop’ or push into an empty quarter on the opposite side by the setter instead of a smash by another player who sells a dummy in the meanwhile,” said Sabith.
Turning up for Usman International in the 40th UAE National Day Celebrations tournament organised by Saif-Zone Authority in Sharjah, Sabith’s skills were on show especially in the final when he steered Usman International past Nilona 3-1. In the men’s division, the Best Spiker award went to Hari Prasad of Nilona; the Best Playmaker prize was bagged by Sabith; while the Player of the Tournament award was presented to Sabith’s team-mate Anvar.
“My whole family especially my parents and my school help me a lot. Not many are lucky where everyone concerned contribute to see a youngster through in sports,” said Sabith.
In academics Sabith has pinned hopes on acquiring an under graduate engineering qualification in IT.
“I wish to be an IT engineer as well in future and thanks to god’s blessings I come from a family where volleyball is second nature to us. My grandfather EM Hydrose was a star player for India. He is no more and I wish he was around too. Academically, I hope I to land up with a scholarship for my sports abilities.”
Hydrose was better known in volleyball circles as ‘Hydrogen Bomb’ for his killer smashes.
Sabith, a 12th grader, stands 185cm tall and has a reach of nearly 245cm, elements that are musts at his age if he has to go far. A few more years should see the centimetre counts increase no doubt.
Sagheer, who is also advisor-English media coordinator for leading clubs and the national body here when major events take place in the UAE, said: “We will try for a scholarship opening for Sabith at a university here if possible. Varsities which promote sports can benefit from Sabith’s game, he could be an asset as a setter. If not, there should hopefully be other openings as well and all of us pray for his academic and sports career.”
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