MARSEILLE - Egypt crowned 25th WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championship champions after thrashing holders England 2-0 in the final played here on Sunday.

World champion Karim Abdel Gawad started the proceedings for the top seeds against Nick Matthew, who was struggling with hamstring injury. Gawad was at his level best and never allowed Matthew any chance to show his power and won the first game 11-9. He took the second game 11-3 and soon it was all over as Gawad wrapped up the match by winning the third game 11-7 in 34 minutes. Egypt was enjoying massive crowd support, unlike in the semifinals the other day, when Hong Kong was enjoying all-out backing of the spectators.

In the second match, current US Open champion Ali Faraq was up against James Willstrop, but cool Ali was too hot to handle for Willstrop. Ali took the first game 11-5 and won the second game 11-9 to take unassailable 2-0 lead. Ali then simply routed Willstrop in the third game, winning it 11-5 to register a memorable victory for Egypt .

Egypt regained their title after 4 years gap, as last time, the mega event was called off due to uncertain situation in Egypt , who were hosting the event in 2015. Egypt lost title in France in 2013 and they won at very same country in 2017. The wild celebrations broke out as soon as Ali won the last point, as not only coaches, players but also the spectators also rushed to the venue to congratulate Ali and the entire Egyptian squad.

Meanwhile, Poor game by Asim Khan and Shahjahan Khan gifted 2-1 victory to South Africa. Pakistan was in ideal position to win against South Africa, as firstly the green shirts were enjoying higher rankings and secondly, the Africans were too old, as one was around 46 and second was around 40 with only one player of under-30 age. On the other hand, Asim, Shahjahan had loads of experience of playing in the PSA events worldwide, but all that was set aside, when it came to match day, as both these players were not ready to take their opponents seriously and were flying high after winning their matches against Austria. But they were brought down to earth by their aged opponents.

It was 3, 1 and 2 combination, Pakistan had once again decided to go with the same winning combination, which carved out lone victory against Austria and Ammad Fareed was once again left out of the team . Asim started the proceedings against Rodney Durbach on a high note and soon put Rodney pressure to take 7-3 lead. But after that, Rodney bounced back and closed the gap and then took 8-7 lead, but Asim also fought back well to win the game 11-9.

Asim was nowhere in the second game, which Rodney won by 11-9. Rodney continued his good show and took the third game 11-7 while in the next game, Rodney was leading 10-9 and serving for the match, but a controversial call from referee gave Asim a lifeline, which helped Asim win the fourth game 13-11. Asim was 10-7 up and was serving for the match in the 5th game, but he allowed too much respect to Rodney, who snatched the victory from the jaws of defeat by winning the fifth game 12-10.

Farhan Zaman, who had yet to win a single match in the event so far, was given the task to keep Pakistan alive. Zaman was up against South African number 1 Ernest Thoboki but he failed miserably to understand the role of being number 1 player of the country. He once again committed a lot of mistakes and hit 15 tins in the match but lady luck favoured him and he finally carved out victory, which looked highly distant from him in the mega event.

Zaman couldn’t star well as he was hitting tins at regular basis, while Thoboki was busy in collecting gifted points, rather earning them. After hitting 5 tins in the first game, Zaman won it 11-9, but he simply threw the second game away, he as leading 3-0, but ended up losing 8-11. Zaman, despite hitting tins and committing childish mistakes, managed to win the third game 11-6 and squared the things after winning fourth game 11-7.

It was all left on Shahjahan Khan to carry forward the nation’s hopes in the tie against Christo Potgieter, but the youngster had no answers to the power and pace of Potgieter, who was simply running away with the match. Potgieter won the first game 11-6, while Shahjahan won the second game 11-6. The young Khan simply demolished Potgieter in the third game as well winning it 11-2. But after that, Shahjahan started committing mistakes which cost him the fourth game 11-9.

It was all Potgieter in the fifth and decisive game, as he simply routed Khan while the referees also helped the African win the fifth game 11-7. Now Pakistan will play Ireland for 19th to 20th place match. It is not coaching or the federation, but it is purely the players, who not only let them down, but also the entire nation. The federation should have opted for not taking part in the mega event, rather sending such pathetic team .

The controversial and biased refereeing also dented Pakistan’s cause. It seems the WSF is highly lenient when it comes to selection of referees as those referees, who don’t know even the rules and regulations of squash , are obliged. It was hard to see that the referees were giving dubious decisions and were not ready to even inform under which law, such silly decisions were being made and they had also no fear of accountability. Pakistan is hit worst by the referees, as it seemed they had targeted Pakistani players, considered them easy preys.

It is high time when Pakistan Squash Federation senior vice president Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi and former world squash champion Qamar Zaman, who are in Marseille to attend the WSF meeting, to raise voice against highly dubious refereeing during the mega event and also seek explanation from the WSF and the PSA for specially targeting Pakistani players during the event.