ISLAMABAD - Top seed Egyptian Omer Abdel Meguid survived Farhan Mehboob scare in the quarterfinal of the $25,000 President Gold Cup International Squash Tournament 2015 to reach the semifinals of the event.
It was all Omer in the first game who took the first game 11-6 in just 11 minutes. Farhan, who is well-known as slow starter and take time to settle down, bounced back in style and won the second game 12-10 in 17 minutes. In the third game, he took 8-4 lead, but Omer fought back well and leveled the score 8-8, but Farhan again took 10-8 lead but Omer again leveled the score 10-10. Finally, Farhan playing well won the game 12-10 in 17 minutes.
Farhan was in supreme control in the third game and despite committing unforced errors and blunders, he won the game 11-9 in 15 minutes. The real drama unfolded in the fourth game, as Farhan was enjoying 3-0 lead, and it was 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6 and 7-7. At that stage, Farhan was given conduct warning on racket abuse and he lost his composure and looked same old angry young man, debating on referee's decisions and allowing Omer too much liberty, who took full advantage of his generosity and won the fourth game 11-8 in 11 minutes.
After surviving close scare, Omer looked in supreme control. Farhan was completely down and out and Omer, getting advantage of the situation, brushed aside Farhan in the fifth game and won it 11-4 to set semifinal date with Pakistan's Nasir Iqbal. The semifinal will be played today (Monday) at 3pm.
In the second quarterfinal, Nasir Iqbal was up against Jordan’s Ahmad Al-Saraj. Nasir was never in any sort of trouble and was just enjoying his game. Ahmed did pose some challenge in the first game and was 4-1 up, but as soon Nasir came into his own, it was just one-way traffic, as Nasir won the first game 11-6 in 11 minutes, took the second 11-6 in 11 minutes and won the third 11-7 in 10 minutes to register 3-0 victory in 32 minutes.
In the third quarterfinal, American Todd Harrity was up against Pakistan's Tayyab Aslam. The crowd was fully behind Tayyab and was supporting him fully, but Tayyab looked flat against Todd, who took the first game 11-7 in 10 minutes and won the second 12-10 in 16 minutes and clinched the third game 11-8 in 12 minutes to book semifinal berth against second seed Egyptian Karim Al-Fathi.
In the fourth and last quarterfinal, Danish Atlas Khan was up against Egyptian Karim Al-Fathi. Karim took the first game 11-6 in 12 minutes and second game 12-10 in 24 minutes. Danish won the third game 11-4 in just 6 minutes but due to unforced errors and a series of blunders, Danish lost the fourth and decisive game 10-12, and was crashed out of the event. Farhan Mehboob was well on his way of beating top seed Omer, but unnecessary pieces of advice by newly-appointed director National Squash Academy (NSA) Air Commodore (R) Aftab Ahmed, who tried to be over-smart and kept on whispering in Farhan's ears, despite the lad enjoying commanding lead, Farhan lost the important encounter.
What was the purpose of Aftab to interfere and distract Farhan, when Khalid Atlas and Mehboob Khan were already at his back, what kind of squash background Aftab holds, has he done any course in squash, or is he a former squash player? If he is appointed as director academy by the PSF, he must offer his 'expertise' at grassroots level, not to top ranked players. He was just trying to get undue and unwanted attention nothing else, but in reality he had inflicted huge damages on national cause. It is hoped that self-proclaimed champions and super Mario advisors should be kept away or else future of Pakistan squash looks highly grim.
Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) has been investing heavily on players, but the players are not paying back well. The time is high when the PSF should hire permanent full-time national coach instead of wasting time on part-timer coaches. Last one year or so, ever since head coach seat was abolished, Pakistani players failed to give even ordinary results with only exception of Farhan Zaman and Danish Atlas, who both won $10,000 titles in USA, but they achieved the titles due to their personal efforts and top class coaching of Shahid Zaman and Atlas Khan. The world team championship is just round the corner, but the PSF didn’t manage a proper camp with a proper coach. If they want to earn glories at international level, they must have to hire the services of a full-time professional coach.