ISLAMABAD                 -            Pakistan junior squash team manager Hussain Odhwani on Tuesday said that the country is blessed with brilliant junior players and future of Pakistan squash is quite bright.

During an interview with the Nation, Hussain, who is also Senior Manager Sales and Marketing and Head of Sports Diplomacy Initiative of Serena Hotels, termed the team’s performance in the recently-concluded British Junior Squash Championship 2020 as remarkable. “I was nominated by our Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Aziz Bolani to travel with the national junior players, as the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) had requested him to nominate due to my successful tour with the team for the Asian Junior Team Championship in Thailand.

“When we landed in Birmingham, we were informed that the Egyptian contingent of 112 players had already arrived for the event, while we had only nine players, as our three youngsters were not granted visas. Let me share one thing, when I gave my first interview to the British media, they considered me as lucky charm for Pakistan, as they were also aware of the fact that I was manager of the national team that won in Thailand.”

Hussain further said: “Frankly speaking, our main title hopes were Abbdullah Nawaz in U-13, Hamza in U-15 and Noor Zaman in U-17, as we had made target of winning gold medals in these three categories. I must say that the way Muhammad Ammad played with such courage and reach the semifinals of the U-15 category, was beyond my expectations. The credit goes to coach Asif Khan and Air Commodore (R) Aftab Saddiq Qureshi for treating the juniors as their own sons.”

“We woke up early in the morning, took boys for breakfast and prepared them mentally prior to the start of the matches. The way our juniors performed in the early rounds was highly appreciable and it shows that how much the PSF had worked on their training and fitness. Hamza did a remarkable job by winning the title after eight-year gap. He is very strong mentally and he never looks in hurry to finish the match unlike of the other players, as he takes time and gives his 200 percent. His cool, calm and focussed attitude was the key behind his success,” he added.

“I have noticed that our juniors are far better than their international competitors. They just need exposure and physical fitness, as Hamza, Noor, Abdullah and Ammad can break into PSA top rankings within next couple of years. We have best coaches and Serena Hotels will continue to lend a helping hand to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and PSF, as PSF President Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan takes keen interest in the affairs of the players. I must say that Mujahid is a source of great inspiration for the players, coaches and federation. He remains in touch with the players, which shows our future is highly secure. I have witnessed positives and few negatives in the players, which I will inform to the federation in my detail report. I can assure that all these juniors won’t disappoint the nation, but bring top honours in the upcoming years,” Hussain concluded.