ISLAMABAD - All the tall claims of Pakistan Squash Federation, regarding over the moon coaching, super training met reality as all the Pakistani players went out crashing in the Asian Games individual squash events held in Indonesia.
It was the worst-ever performance by Pakistani male players, who failed to even make it to the quarterfinals and went out crashing at the pre-quarterfinals stage. The home champions, sisters Faiza Zafar and Madina Zafar failed to even win their first round matches.
In the pre-quarterfinal, Pakistan’s best hope Tayyab Aslam, who had promised to win gold, was given a real bashing by Indian Saurav Ghosal, who won the encounter 3-1. Earlier in the first round, Tayyab had beaten Nepalese Simha Arhan 3-0. Last Pakistani hope Asim Khan also crashed out in the last 16 as he was hammered by Malaysian Yuen Chee Wern 3-0. Earlier in the first round, Asim had beaten Thailand’s Jivaso Nattha 3-0.
While in the ladies first round, Madina Zafar was beaten by 32-year old Japanese Ahn Eun Tslhan 3-0 and her sister Faiza Zafar was beaten by Yuliam Catur 3-2.
It was time and again mentioned by this correspondent that Pakistan Squash Federation must hire professional coaches and the federation must inform about the selection criteria and the highly poor results by Pakistan National Squash Academy, which is into its third year and has failed to provide even a single champion or a even n ordinary player. The PNSA is proving nothing more than a white elephant on national kitty, but no heed has been paid so far.
Pakistan had only two high-profile coaches, who had the vast international exposure and both are proven stuff, the brother’s duo of Jamshed Gul and Fahim Gul. But after sacking Jamshed as head coach in 2014, the federation appointed Fahim to coach players but he was never given head coach letter and also not given a long-term contract. Rather than showing doors to players and PNSA Director for highly pathetic showing in World Team Squash Championship in France, the federation decided to sack Fahim Gul without any intimation and brought Muhamad Yasin from UK, who could hardly move and doesn’t even had any squash court back home. The staff at PNSA is being rewarded with hefty salaries whereas Pakistani players’ performances and rankings remained decline unabatedly.
Pakistani players badly failed to defend Asian Senior Team title; they crashed in Commonwealth Games, failed to defend World Junior Team tile but no one from federation tried to control this damage. It is hoped that newly-appointed PSF President Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan will look into highly pathetic results and check on what criteria and merit the team was selected and why highly seasoned player Farhan Mehboob, who had won all the PSA titles held in Pakistan last year always gets step-motherly treatment from federation. Why Farhan Zaman was not given nod of approval. What is the purpose of holding trials when these so-called players can’t even win against unknowns?
When this scribe contacted Flight Lieutenant Aamir Iqbal, who is PSF Game Development Officer to seek his point of view regarding the highly questionable results of both male and female players, Aamir replied: “The federation provided the best training and facilities to players; it was their duty to perform to the best of their abilities. We will seek report and then take action if players fail to pay back. We expected them to shine and at least get medals if not gold in individuals. Now we have pinned great hopes in our men’s team to excel in team event and females to at least play the quarterfinals.”
When asked about criteria of selection and why secretary embarked on almost every event and in which capacity and why three coaches and a manager was accompanying the teams, why not a professional coach is hired and why not a trainer was sent with the teams, Aamir replied: “We are satisfied with coaches, while we wanted to send a trainer, but due to lack of funds we can’t send him. The manager is important to look after players. We will act swiftly as soon as manager submits report upon their arrival.”