ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) honorary secretary Group Captain Tahir Sultan has said that Pakistan men and women teams have good chances of doing well in international events and finishing on podiums.

Although Pakistan female team chances of doing well in the Asian Senior Team Championship suffered body blow, as top international star Maria Toor Pakai sent medical after injuring her leg, even then they are capable of doing well in that event.

Talking to The Nation, Tahir said: “Pakistan is seeded number 2 in men’s and number 3 in females and we are quite hopeful of playing the final in men’s and semifinals in ladies team event. Farhan Zaman, Tayyab Aslam, Asim Khan and Ammad Fareed will represent the country in Asian Senior Team Championship in Korea, while in females, Madina Zafar, Riffat Khan and Faiza Zafar will represent the country.

“We tried to contact Sadia Gul to ask her to join the training camp and deposit passport for visa process, but she kept mum and neither her father responded to our calls. It is very irresponsible attitude shown by Sadia, who was our top choice for Commonwealth Games contingent after Maria was injured. But now only Madina and Faiza Zafar will represent the country in Commonwealth Games, while in men, Farhan Zaman and Tayyab Aslam will play,” he added.

Tahir said for the first time, they have decided to take part in the mixed event. “Madina will partner Farhan and Faiza will play alongside Tayyab. It is a good initiative and is a clear proof that how seriously we are taking female squash, who, in fact, don’t actually look serious. With such behaviour and attitude, how can we even think about working with female players?

“Boota is going as physical trainer, while I will be accompanying team as manager. The team will leave on March 17 through Air China and land same day in Korea. The event will start from March 21 and our players would have three good days to train and adjust to the conditions,” he added.

The PSF secretary said that Pakistan male team has good chances after Hong Kong. “We posses balanced squad, which is capable of beating any opponent. Being third seeds, I hope Zafar sisters and Riffat will perform well and end up on podium. We have given them the best possible training under M Yaisn, Asif and Fazal Shah and now it all depends on players how they respond.”

Tahir said as far as Commonwealth Games are concerned, it would be very tough competition, as all the top squash playing nations will send their best available squad. “We have a balanced squad. Although both Zafar sisters are relatively inexperienced, yet they have great fighting abilities while Riffat is also experienced campaigner and can produce satisfactory results in Asian Senior Team Championship.”

When asked why three female players would be sent for Asian Team Championship and in case of injury, Pakistan team would be out, so they should consider someone else, Tahir said: “We wanted to send four players, but Sadia really disappointed the federation and the country. In case of any untoward incident, off course, Pakistan team will suffer, but Sadia kept complete mum. We requested Qamar Zaman and also called her father Sher Khitab time and again but he never bothered to respond.”

When asked why M Yasin, who could hardly stand in squash courts, can provide even ordinary results, the secretary said: “Yasin is a proven stuff as he had produced a number of top players, so he is capable of producing good results.” Tahir couldn’t inform about Yasin’s latest achievements, as for the last several years, he was sitting at home in UK, but all of a sudden, he was assigned very important duty of coaching national team.

Pakistan national team has hardly any major assignment in coming months, while there is no PSA event scheduled in recent months. It is quite clear that Yasin will take perks and privileges without doing any job, just like a number of other PSF officials.