ISLAMABAD        -         Pakistan’s one of the successful squash coaches Muhammad Asif Khan has suggested Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) to ensure all the junior players must play professional circuit after under-15, which will provide Pakistan countless future champions.

In an interview with The Nation, Asif said: “When our youngsters start playing the PSA tournaments, they will learn a lot and improve their games and start producing better results at international level. When our players will play in World Junior and other major junior international tournaments, we will be amongst the seeded countries and we don’t have to play in the initial rounds against top seed teams and they will gradually adapt to the conditions and excel in their respective categories. Now the PSF management should take my suggestion seriously which will certainly benefit it and the players.”

He said, “Noor Zaman and few other top junior players are going to Egypt to play in the PSA events there, which will not only help our players but also to the federation and coaches, as we work very hard on junior players during long training camps, but we have witnessed that our top junior players melt under pressure when they face top players, like we witnessed in the recently-concluded British Junior Open, where Noor Zaman lost the semifinal against Sam Todd, the eventual winner.

“I would have never minded, had Noor displayed his original skills and went down fighting, but the way Noor was beaten all hands up was a shock not only for me and managers but also for the federation. Same happened in the U-15 semifinal, where national champion M Ammad was playing exceptional squash till semis but he was nowhere in the match while U-13 national champion Abdullah Nawaz also played well till quarterfinals, but lost in the final stages. This is a very bad sign for the players and the federation, as both should overcome their grey areas,” he added.

The coach said the federation is taking all the measures, which is the main job of the affiliated associations. “It is the prime job of associations to play the role of squash nursery, a role, which by far the provinces are not performing. The PSF has hired two physical trainers and two coaches, who are imparting training to junior players in two sessions. A proper academy has been working and doing its work sincerely but the associations and provinces are not taking any advantage of Pakistan National Squash Academy (PNSA) facilities nor are they providing fresh talent to the academy, which is their prime responsibility.

“It is a great dilemma that senior players are not ready to follow training methods at all nor they want to play with coaches. They have their own training programme and if we try to give them training plans, they refuse saying they will follow their own way of training. If we look at any top country like Malaysia, USA, Kuwait, Singapore and other, Pakistani coaches are training players there and our system is being followed by top squash playing nations. “Look at our British Junior performances as we are sure that next year, we will further make inroads and give more great results. I can assure that like junior players, if the senior players train with us, they will deliver once again like they did in the past,” Asif concluded.