ISLAMABAD - Former eight-time world squash champion Jansher Khan was full of praise for Sohail Qaiser, former Pakistan professional squash player, who passed away a few days back in Lahore, fighting cancer.

Talking to The Nation, Jansher said Sohail was a great player, highly respectable human being and an asset to Pakistan. “His untimely loss is hard to absolve and his contributions for squash and country will always be remembered. I am personally very down after hearing about his death. I met him on a number of occasions. He was the first to win the world junior squash title for Pakistan and I was the last to achieve this unique distinction.”

Jansher said: “Keeping in mind Sohail’s contributions for Pakistan squash, I strongly recommend the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) to announce not only a special award in recognition of his matchless services but also announce cash incentives for his family. It is our national and moral duty to take very good care of his kids. We can’t bring Sohail back as everybody has to leave this world one day, but at least, we can provide some relief to his family. I also suggest the PSF to name a tournament after Sohail, which would be a great tribute to him and services for the game.”

Sharing his views, PSF honorary secretary Group Captain Amir Nawaz termed Sohail’s death as a huge loss to not only Pakistan squash but also to world squash. “Sohail was contributing towards squash and was producing a number of kids at junior level. I was at hospital and offered my sincere and profound condolences to Gogi Alluddin. The PSF is with his family in this hour of grief and sorrow and pray to Allah Almighty to keep him in highest place in heavens.” When asked about announcing something for Sohail family or naming an event after him, Amir replied: “I will discuss with the PSF senior vice president and will soon inform about it. I feel honour to attribute Pakistan’ World Junior team squash event victory to Soahil as it was our third attempt and our players had beaten three Egyptians in the individual event. Now juniors did it for Pakistan and for Sohail.”

Pakistan’s former national coach Jamshed Gul expressed his deep sorrow and shock over Sohail’s death and said: “Untimely death of Sohail has shaken each and every individual here in USA. We have planned to arrange a memorial service soon, in which present and past players, who are residing in USA, will attend and pay glowing tributes to the departed soul.”

Mehboob Khan, who is father of Farhan, Waqar and Waqas Mehboob, said: “Sohail was my best buddy. We had spent so many years on international tours, as I was with Jansher, Farhan and also officiating in a number of events as referee. I always found him very down to earth and a true Pakistani, who had great love for squash and wanted to do something for Pakistan squash.” Sohail was born in 1965 and lived in Lahore. He won the world junior championship in 1982 and British Under-23 Open at Wembley in 1982. He turned professional in mid-80s. He was also part of the Pakistan team that won the 1985 men's world team squash championship. He was one of the most stylish and well mannered player that Punjab squash has ever produced.