PESHAWAR - Former eight-time world squash champion Jansher Khan Saturday said lack of physical fitness and poor training behind present era players’ poor outings on the squash circuit.

Talking to The Nation, he appreciated Pakistan Squash Federation for putting the best possible efforts, providing top class facilities and arranging PSA tournaments for players to improve their international rankings.

However, he regretted that the players showing lack of interest and taking the opportunities as for granted and held this approach responsible for debacle of the game in the country that failed to produce world champions like him, Jahangir and Qamar Zaman. “I had very little doubt about the potential Pakistan possesses but I can challenge these players can’t win any major title, until and unless, they work on their mental and physical fitness levels.”

He said Pakistan is following absolutely no plan at all as winning national tournaments, or PSA events being held in Islamabad or Karachi or even in any other city in Pakistan was not a big deal. “I will appreciate these players only when they start winning $25,000 or above titles abroad. As a former champion, my heart bleeds to witness these players failing at first hurdle or bowing out without even posing a little challenge. I can understand, the federation can’t do over the moon things. They can only provide facilities, coaches, accommodation and arrange the PSA events, which I sincerely believe they are doing much more than I was expecting. These players don’t know one bitter and harsh reality that during our times, we had to arrange everything by ourselves. We were not given even ordinary facilities by the federation and only PIA was providing us air tickets while we had to arrange rest of expenses. These players are highly fortunate and blessed ones. They just inform the federation about participating in the PSA events and the federation without wasting time, provide them not only tickets, but also TADAs, which is a blessing. If these things are not enough for players then I can only sympathise with them. Instead, complaining, they must accept their responsibility and start to deliver.”

He said Pakistan have highly talented players at the moment and if they train properly, spent time in courts and start to follow given plans, they can still not only win major titles but also can break into PSA elite group of players. Picking Farhan Mehboob as the best player in the country, who could carry forward nations hopes of winning mega titles, Jansher said Farhan is mentally very strong but he needs to put up more efforts to improve his physical fitness as well. “Farhan is blessed being a left hander. He has huge advantage and if he utilises his skills and play his natural game, like he had beaten the world number 2, Egyptian Karim Abdel Gawad, he can beat any given player. I strongly recommend and suggest the federation to take Farhan Mehboob to the coming World Team Squash Championship in France as he is the main hope. It is true, somehow, he didn’t appear in the trials, but he is by far superior and also experienced and helped country to win lot of titles at Asian level and deserves a chance.”

He said he also seriously believes that Aamir Atlas, Danish, Farhan Zaman and Nasir Iqbal could solve the woes and help country win titles. “I feel the federation should contact players and amicably settle minor disputes as it is in the interest of Pakistan squash that these players should represent the country. I feel instead of conducting $50,000 Pakistan Open in December this year, the federation should have pushed the PSA to allocate two $25,000 events. As everywhere in the world, the federations put their players on top priority and here too the local players must be given more and more representation to assure not only exposure but also chances to play alongside top professional players.

He also lauded the federation for planning to conduct $25,000 PSA event for females, which he considers must for the development of females of the country and provide them with a sense that they are also very much in the loop. He said he is always ready to help Pakistan squash in best possible manner and the federation should consult him and took his advices seriously. “My services are always available for the youth of the country,” Jansher concluded.