ISLAMABAD - Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, was unanimously elected as president of the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) in the 42nd annual general council meeting of the federation held here at Air Headquarters Thursday.

Representatives of provincial squash associations, affiliated members and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) were also present during the meeting. Addressing the AGM members, newly-elected PSF chief thanked the house for their participation and offered wholehearted support of PAF as well as the PSF for the promotion of squash.

Showing his satisfaction over revival of international squash in Pakistan, he desired that the provincial squash associations and other PSF members should made sincere efforts to expand the game. He urged the players to focus on the game and further improve their physical and mental strength.

Besides assuring financial and administrative support by PAF, he urged the member associations to generate further resources to meet the challenging task through an improved system. He also directed the member associations to promote squash at grassroots level through district and provincial leagues and increase the number of players. He also desired to introduce the game at schools and colleges level and hunt talent to further groom at national and international levels.

He stressed upon the formulation of a comprehensive training strategy to further groom the skills of the players. He also decided to form up national and provincial squash academies.

Meanwhile, the inside sources on condition of anonymity have confirmed to this scribe that the most important matter of head coach was not even discussed in the meeting. “The PSF is without a coach for the last November and the players’ performances are going down with each passing day, but no one bothered to even inform the actual ground reality to newly-appointed president. It is secretary who runs the show because senior vice president has other important areas to look after. When the non-technocrat secretary remains at the PSF helm of affairs with his self-styled policies, how on earth would it be possible to even think about ordinary results?” the sources said.

They added that it was hoped that someone would dare and inform the president about huge injustice being done to Asian senior individual squash champion Aamir Atlas Khan, who was deprived by PSF secretary Group Captain Amir Nawaz of defending his title, while Pakistan No 1 squash player Farhan Mehboob was also not considered just because of demanding their right of exemption from so-called trials.

The newly-appointed PSF chief should have also sought detailed report about affiliated federation’s progress. “They are not more than liabilities and just gather to gain personal rewards, they are the main culprits, who have failed to safeguard the rights of the players and provide justice to them. Sindh and Balochistan have not produced a single player in last many decades, but there is absolutely no check and balance. The federation is being run with a stick and only a few players have been showered with countless blessings. No one is bothered to seek explanation from the secretary and the SVP about their self-styled policies, who have almost destroyed Pakistan squash.”

The inside sources have said that gathering after a year just over a cup of tea and all was well report was not enough. “The new president is very optimistic and a true sports lover. He has given assurance of arranging funds and just wants federation to focus on producing results. But without proper planning and long-term coaching, how results can be achieved? The president must introduce check and balance system in the federation instead of relying completely and blindly on the secretary's report. He must ask for report from independent sources to ensure a transparent utilization of resources,” they added.

The players and squash lovers have pinned high hopes on new president. Now the ball is in his court, as his right decisions will decide the fate of squash. If things continue in same fashion and the secretary is allowed to carry on with his same biased policies, the future of Pakistan squash is bleak. Pakistan is all set to lose another high profile title in shape of Asian Senior Individual Squash Championship, which starts today (Friday) in Kuwait and for the very first time, the defending champion Aamir Atlas was not allowed to defend his title.