ISLAMABAD-Gold medal-winning Pakistan squash team on Tuesday returned home after defending the 18th Asian Senior Team Squash title at Chinese Taipei.

The officials of Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF), Punjab Squash Association (PSA) and Rawalpindi Squash Association (RSA) along with sizeable crowd and players parents were also present on the occasion and accorded warn welcome to the winning team. The squash lovers and players dance on the drum beats, and it was festivity all around.  Talking to The Nation after return home as triumphant, PSF honorary secretary Group Captain Amir Nawaz, who also accompanied the team as manager, said: “It was tremendous and memorable performance by the entire Pakistan team. All the participating teams had fielded their best players, while we were without Pakistan No 1 Nasir Iqbal, who was barred by the WSF till his dope test get cleared, and were under enormous pressure. But the way Farhan Mehboob and Farhan Zaman handled the things and how Tayyab Aslam played sheet anchor role, was really commendable and the main reason behind defending the title. All the players played superbly but the semifinal of Tayyab Aslam against Kush Kumar was the best match of his career which he was 3-2 to keep Pakistan hopes alive in the event.”

Amir said Iraq and Japan were awesome, as Japan had defeated mighty Indians in the pool match, which was amazing and Iraq also posed serious challenges to Pakistan in the quarterfinals. “Farhan Mehboob remained stick to the game plan and Farhan Zaman shouldered the burden as top player and led the team from the front. He was truly outstanding and remarkable especially against world number 13 Max Lee of Hong Kong in the final.

“Zaman spearheaded Pakistan challenge and I must say, he and all the boys did a fantastic job. It was a team effort and let me share one thing, I was not going with the team, but on players’ insistence, I had to travel with it which resulted in Pakistan’s title victory,” he added.

“We entered the event as highly underdogs, although we were second seeds behind Hong Kong, but only we know, we don’t have the strongest possible team in the absence of Nasir Iqbal, yet Farhan Mehboob and Farhan Zaman were our trump cards. We were fully aware, if they would play according to their potential, they could easily beat any given opponent. Mehboob gave us perfect start against Hong Kong in the final and Zaman was simply remarkable, as the way he showed his skills, strength and fighting qualities against higher-ranked Max Lee, was not easy to describe in wordsm,” he asserted.

Amir said that the federation made some outstanding decisions, which included taking onboard world champions Jahangir Khan, Jansher Khan, Qamar Zaman. Jahangir Khan was in constant touch with the team in Taipei and was passing on instructions, which paid off.

When asked about special incentives for the team and officials, Amir confirmed that according to the PSF rules, they would be given cash incentives. “We will also arrange a meeting with PSF president Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, but I can’t say about special awards, as it is not in my hands. May be, the chief announce special incentives for the players keeping in mind their superb work during the mega event. I will present a detailed report and will request for special bonus for players and coach,” Amir concluded.