ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) senior vice president Air Vice Marshal (R) Syed Razi Nawab has announced that the world’s elite group of Egyptian players will face Pakistan top players in the $40,000 prize money event from April 5-6 in Karachi at PAF Museum.

Talking to The Nation on Monday, Razi said: “The highlight of the event is that it will be played in four-glass wall portable squash court, which will be especially installed at the venue with fighter planes in the background.

“We hired services of highly professional event management expertise Salman Butt, who was also behind Pakistan Super League (PSL), to help us generate Rs 20 million funds and we will offer him only token money. It will be a long-term partnership and I am sure he will play his role to bring more and more funds for the PSF and we will be able to conduct the high-prize PSA events,” he added.

Razi said they would also give respectable cash to the players. “But one thing is quite clear that I am not going to announce the money, as it will be a challenge to Pakistan players to come and beat the top Egyptians and earn $40,000 on offer. USA-based Pakistan origin Jahanzaib will arrange the prize money, while the federation will ensure all the arrangements. We will also provide opportunity to our other male and female players and it will be a carnival, which will continue for a week.”

Razi said after Egypt-Pakistan clash of titans, the $15,000 PSA event would also be played at the same glass court and then it would be removed. “The four-glass court is too expensive and we can’t afford any damages. Besides four $25,000 PSA events this year, it is my promise that we will conduct a premier league squash event in October involving international players, on the patron of the PSL. But we have taken the lead and gone a step ahead, as the PSL was held at Dubai and Sharjah, while international squash series will be held in Pakistan. It is my humble request to all to help the PSF in reviving squash in Pakistan.”

He said the WSF and the PSA must understand and realize ground realities. “Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar or any other part of Pakistan is as safe as Islamabad, so they should come and enjoy Pakistanis hospitality and I am sure they will cherish those moments for the rest of their lives. We are ready to welcome mega prize events like Pakistan Open, if PSA will give us nod of approval. We will conduct high-profile mega event this year. “The ASB, manufactures of glass court, have written a letter of appreciation to the PSF and welcomed our plan of conducting the Egypt-Pakistan battle in such a healthy and graceful environment, where fighter jets will be right behind the spectators. We will install seats where around 700 to 800 spectators can sit and enjoy the beauty and environment. We will also invite guests from the PSA, the WSF and the Asian body. I am sure international bodies will not only appreciate our work, but also allow us to conduct more high-prize events in Pakistan,” he added.

“The five-member Egyptian team comprises Omar Mossad world number 4, Tarek Momen world number 8, Karim A Gawad world number 9, Mezen Hesham world number 16 and Ali Faraq world number 22, while Pakistan team consists of Nasir Iqbal world number 35, Farhan Zaman world number 58, Tayyab Aslam world number 75, Shahjahan Khan world number 99 and Farhan Mehboob world number 115. Top women players like Maria Toor, Sadia Gul, Sammer Anjum and others will also play matches and top junior players will also be involved during the squash fiesta,” Razi said.

“It is expected that such initiative will help achieve PSF’s vision of game’s revival. We will generate fund through corporate sponsorship and moreover, the participation of top Egyptian players in the exhibition series will help present the actual soft and sports loving image of the country and will further help the PSF in bringing more international players to Pakistan during upcoming $25,000 PSA tournaments planned in Islamabad. This will expand the international participation beyond Islamabad, and it will also provide great opportunity for the junior players to learn the advanced skills from the top professionals of the squash world,” Razi concluded.