ISLAMABAD - Only three Pakistani players could make it to the third round of the World Junior Individual Squash Championship 2019 in Malaysia on Wednesday.

Haris Qasim, M Farhan Hashmi and Noor Zaman recorded victories against their respective opponents in the second round, while Hamza Khan, Hamza Sharif and Naveed Rehman bowed out at the second hurdle. Hamza Khan’s match was the most shocking of the day, as he was comfortably enjoying 2-0 lead, but he simply threw it away and melted under pressure. The height of the opponent was irritating Hamza and he simply lost patience and started committing silly mistakes. From 2-0 lead, Hamza lost the match 2-3.

Noor Zaman, grandson of legend former world champion Qamar Zaman, played superb squash and registered an impressive victory. Noor was 0-2 down and almost out of the championship, but he staged a tremendous comeback and not only stunned Liechtenstein Maier David, but also the entire arena, which gave him standing ovation. The first game was wonderful contest where Noor, after giving tough fight, lost 8-11 while he was thrashed in the second 11-4. Noor then showed his class and won the third game 11-7. He was in sublime form and won the fourth 11-5 and fifth and deciding game 12-10 to move into the third round.

In the second match of the day, Haris Qasim was up against Colombian Juan Jose Torres. Haris won the first game 11-3, second 11-2 and third 11-1 to advance to the third round. In the third match, M Farhan Hashmi came from 0-2 down against archrivals Indian Sareen Arnaav to register thrilling 3-2 victory. Farhan lost the first game 6-11 and second 11-13, before winning the next three in a row 11-9, 11-4 and 11-6 to move into the next round.

That was the end of the great morning as remaining three Pakistani players lost their matches. Egyptian Elsirty Mostafa thrashed Hamza Sharif 3-0, winning 11-6, 12-10 and 11-8, Indian Veer Chotrani overpowered Naveed Rehman 3-0, winning 11-7, 11-9 and 11-8 and American Santry Dana edged past Mohammad Hamza Khan 3-2, winning 6-11, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-2.

It was time and again mentioned by this scribe that the PSF must hire top class coaches to run the Pakistan National Squash Academy (PNSA), which, despite into its third year, failed to produce a single junior champion. The PSF is making fools the masses through its tall claims that junior players have won 55 international medals last year, but they never informed the masses and IPC Minister that all those medals were won in non-ranking tournaments, where not a single notable junior player bothered to take part.

The PSF was so frightened about senior players’ results that they decided not to send the team for World Team Squash Championship in USA for the very first time in the history of Pakistan squash. They passed the burden on the players for not training as per PSF’s directives, but never bothered to hire reputed coaches. M Yasin is an outdated old man, who had not a single squash court available for last several years in UK, where he was residing and was living retired life, but the federation hired his services and providing him all perks and privileges without producing even ordinary results.

It is high time when PSF President, Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, must take notice of such pathetic condition of PNSA and players. He should dismiss these so-called coaches and replace them with top class professional coaches. The timely intervention of the PSF chief is only solution to long-standing problems being faced by Pakistan squash.