ISLAMABAD    -   The Pakistan Squash Federation’s (PSF) 46th Annual General Meeting (AGM), held under the chair of its president Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, proved to be a routine affair, as not a single major decision was taken or even discussed in the meeting.

The only action taken during the meeting was appointment of Air vice Marshal Amir Masood as senior vice president, as Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi got retired. Former world squash champion Qamar Zaman was the only squash legend present on the occasion as Jahangir Khan was in USA and Jansher Khan was attending the funeral of his nephew.

It was expected that the PSF President will take the federation officials to task, reprimand them for poor and pathetic performances in the last two years, as winning non-ranking tournaments at unknown places are not enough to save the skins of the federation. It was also expected that at least Pakistan National Squash Academy (PNSA) director get the boot, as the academy is more than a white elephant on national kitty and badly failed to produce a single champion in last four years, but nothing happened.

The sources present on the occasion confirmed The Nation that the PSF president sought explanations from the associations for their failure to play their due roles. He also reminded Sindh and Balochistan Associations their zero contributions in producing players or even collecting funds to sponsor players, saying they failed to sponsor a single player for the PSA events.

It was also expected that the PSF chief will take stern action against director referees Tahir Khanzada, who also badly failed to conduct clinics and grooming referees, which is his prime job. The same referees are given nod of approval in all major and minor tournaments, who don’t know a single word of English and bring huge embarrassment for the country, as foreign players want explanation why point was given against them, but these local referees had no answers except ‘no arguments’, ‘play on please’.

Khanzada never bothered to focus on educating referees, sending them abroad, holding redresser courses rather he always obliges an army of referees for tournaments. Now world-wide only two or three referees conduct entire tournament, while professional players are also involved to conduct the refereeing, but here in Pakistan, Khanzada uses his influence and contacts with Jahangir Khan to blackmail the federation and always manages to get all his yes-men hired for the tournaments.

Another highly important area, which was completely neglected, was the appointment of a top class coach for Pakistan team. After Jamshed Gul was removed back in 2014, the PSF never hired a full-time coach and relied on part-time coaches, which resulted in huge dip in Pakistani players’ PSA rankings. The federation spent huge amount of national money on sending junior players to Egypt, but results in world junior championship was more than enough to prove that the PNSA is waste of time and money. The academy needs a qualified director.

It is high time when the PSF president should appoint a top class coach, hand him long-term contract, work on grassroots level, stop paying heed towards former greats and focus on junior players as it is the only viable solution to Pakistan squash woes.

The PSF chief must also seek report from former senior vice president and ex-secretary Razi Nawab and Amir Nawaz for not handling Nasir Iqbal case properly. World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) suspended India’s NDTL, anti-doping lab accreditation, on Friday. The suspension prohibits the NDTL from carrying out any anti-doping activities. The suspension has been imposed due to non-conformities with the international standards for laboratories (ISL).

It is the same Indian laboratory, which gave report against Pakistan No 1 Nasir Iqbal, who was then world number 35 in 2016, when he participated in South Asian Games in India. Had the PSF taken up Nasir’s case with the WSF, PSA and WADA, he would have never faced four-year unjust ban. It is hoped that the PSF president, who is also a squash player, will take action and make tough and bold decisions in the best interest of squash, players and the country.