ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's most promising squash player Nasir Iqbal was denied visa by the US authorities despite keeping his passport for almost 6 months, this was revealed by Pakistan Squash Federation SVP Air Vice Marshal Syed Razi Nawab in an exclusive interview with TheNation on Saturday.

He said Nasir was included in the US programme by the federation and three players Aamir Atlas Danish Atlas and Farhan Zaman had already completed first phase of training and will return on January 10 while Farhan Zaman is still in the US.

'It is quite unfortunate that US embassy had rejected Nasir's visa application without giving any reason. We had been following all the developments for the last 6-months or so and we were quite optimistic that Nasir would be granted the visa, keeping in mind his achievements and that too in such a short span of time'.

Razi Nawab said Aamir Atlas and Danish Atlas were due to leave for US on 10th and federation had provided them air tickets and also $ 1500 each, but Aamir and Danish backed off at the eleventh hour demanding $ 3000 each.

'We were providing them accommodation, boarding charges from one city to another US city and also promised with them to do more as it is a matter of great prestige for the country and their refusal will bring bad name to country and federation but also for the players too. During my visit to US along with former great Jahangir Khan we had worked hard to collect donations and this programme was made possible with the active help of generous helps from Pakistanis living in US while non-participation in PSA events would also hurt their cause of improving international rankings.

'But despite talking to their father Atlas Khan the duo declined to proceed, we had played our role and went all the way in helping these players and provided them cash incentives, but when it comes to the honour of the country they backed off, just because to earn more money'.

Razi further said: "We have decided from now on we would not give any sponsor to these players until and unless they show desired results."

Prestige of country always comes first and the dirty tricks would only harm their reputations and also dent their hopes of climbing on the top of PSA rankings.

"We had very easy option of picking two players and by carefully watching the recent performances Nasir and Farhan Zaman were the strong candidates as they had given unmatched results throughout the year, but as Pakistan's top player we had decided to add Aamir and Danish also for the US programme."

Now the federation has left with no other option but to concentrate on the available bunch of players and we are working on war footings to find and groom grassroots level talent, and setting up of different talent hunt programmes and camps in different cities is one such example.

We are taking squash very seriously as we want to bring back old glory days of Pakistan squash back, we would do what ever it takes to accomplish that task,” Razi concluded.