ISLAMABAD - Former world squash champion Jansher Khan lauded Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) for bearing expenses of two players and ensuring maximum participation of Pakistani squad in the Asian Games squash events in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Talking to The Nation, Jansher said: “The way the PSF ensured maximum participation of Pakistani squash team in 18th Asian Games is highly commendable and for this, I pay tribute to not only PSF President Air Marshal Mujahid, but also to Senior Vice President Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi.

“First of all, it was responsibility of the government, POA and PSB to ensure maximum representation of athletes, as they are the ones, who win laurels in return. But the POA and PSB failed to arrange funds and it is the federation, who stepped forward and didn’t compromise,” he added.

He said Asian Games are the second mega multi-sports event after Olympics. “I had personally visited training camps of males and females at Islamabad. I hope both the teams won’t disappoint the nation and will return with medals. The federation can only provide best facilities, coaches, training and in return, it’s the players’ responsibility to perform well and win laurels for the country.”

He said people think that Jansher, Qamar or Jahangir have nothing to do except blaming the players for poor performances, which is completely a wrong impression. “The matter of the fact is that whenever I feel the federation isn’t playing it role properly, I never hesitate and not only talk to the concerned persons, but also openly speak against them in media.”

He said all the past greats, who had won loads of international titles for the country, want these youngsters to perform and win like they used to do in their prime days. “It hurts, when we saw Pakistani players are nowhere in the PSA rankings, even they are not in the top 50. We never went out of top 10 in our entire careers. We are not against the players, but we want them to excel and take our suggestions and criticism positively. They have to get rid of fear of losing or giving too much respect to the opponents. They must understand that all the players are beatable and they just need to give their best.”

Jansher said he is very happy for the female players, who are getting more and more chances in present setup to go abroad and to showcase their skills. “I want to suggest them that, ‘never mind loss or win, just give your best and leave the rest’. The more you play, the better chances you’ll have to deliver.

“We are facing acute shortage of even male players, as not many youngsters are turning their focus towards playing squash, which is alarming and I strongly recommend the federation that without wasting any further time, they should start countrywide talent-hunt programme, which is the only way of finding fresh talent. The Pakistan National Squash Academies are functional in all the major cities of the country but we only need to find fresh blood and transform them into champions,” he added.

Jansher also lauded the PSF for conducting game development programmes in the country and appreciated the efforts of the federation for taking care of physical and mental fitness of the players, training them to face future challenges and how to transit those challenges according to the rules of World Squash Federation (WSF).

The squash legend also appreciated the PSF role for working in collaboration with the WSF, Asian Squash Federation (ASF) and Professional Squash Association (PSA) for putting up extra efforts for the inclusion of squash in Olympics. “It would be like dream come true for squash players, as they deserve to get a place in the Olympics and win medals for their respective countries.”

Jansher assured the PSF President Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan and Senior Vice President Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi of playing his role to boost the game in the country and promised to make him available for any role in the federation. “Being a former champion, it is my responsibility to payback in the best possible manner, ensuring squash flourish with each passing day.”