ISLAMABAD

Nasir Iqbal and Farhan Zaman made it into the Asian Senior Individual Squash Champion squad to be held in Kuwait in May, after finishing first and second respectively in trial matches which concluded here at Mushaf Mir Squash Complex.

The selection committee members Punjab Squash Association VP (Admin) Tariq Rana, Sindh Squash Association president Tahir Khanzada and PSF secretary Group Captain Amir Nawaz were also present at the venue.

On the third and last day of trials, Nasir beat Sh Saqib 3-1, 11-4, 4-11, 11-9, 11-8, while Farhan Zaman lost against Tayyab 3-1, 9-11, 11-4, 10-12, 9-11 and in the last match, Farhan Zaman beat Danish Atlas 3-1, 9-11, 11-7, 11-1, Danish retired in the fourth game. Farhan Zaman and Tayyab finished on same number of points but Farhan had lost fewer games than Tayyab so he got the nod ahead of Tayyab.

Talking to The Nation, the PSF secretary said: “Nasir and Farhan qualified directly to represent the country, while we are quite hopeful we will get two more entries by virtue of size of draw. I am hopeful Tayyab and Sh Saqib will also participate on merit.”

He completely ruled out the prospect of Asian senior individual squash champion Aamir Atlas Khan and Pakistan No 1 Farhan Mehboob could get chance to represent Pakistan, and added only those players, who attended the trials, would be considered for selection.

Tayyab finished third, Danish fourth and Sh Saqib fifth in the trials. It was not more than an exercise in futile as it was widely expected Nasir Iqbal and Farhan Zaman will earn top two places, but Danish's presence in the trials made things interested. Had the poor, pathetic and biased refereeing not denied Danish to play freely, Danish could have well beaten Nasir and even Tayyab, but a number of dubious decisions cost Danish dearly.

The Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) must pay attention towards pathetic refereeing in such high-profile trial matches, as it was future of youngsters which was on stake. Such poor refereeing not only hurt genuine players, but also sent negative signal about the federation.

The PSF should have appointed a senior referee to conduct the matches, but no heed was paid and an average referee Zulfiqar Khan of Punjab Squash Association was handed over the responsibility of chair referee, who spoiled the great match between Nasir and Danish. Most of the decisions went against Danish, who, otherwise, could have beaten Nasir.

When senior most referees like Tahir Khanzada, Sajjad and Imran were very much present, then why such an unknown referee was handed over the responsibility of conducting such important match? Danish was punished for a crime which he didn't commit. His elder brother Aamir Atlas, being a champion, deserved exemption from trials, but the federation preferred personal egos over the country's interest while Danish, despite coming for trials, had to face the biased refereeing.

Talking to The Nation, head of referees Tahir Khanzada admitted that some refereeing errors were witnessed and also accepted Zulfiqar's gesture was not according to what was required from him. “Referees do commit mistakes at international level, therefore, I discussed with referees and told them how to control situations.”