ISLAMABAD     -    Six-time world team squash champions Pakistan will not take part in the 26th World Team Squash Championship 2019 to be held in Washington DC, USA from December 14 to 22.

It is the darkest day in the history of Pakistan squash, which had produced a number of world champions, who had ruled squash world for almost four decades, but it has now started falling to new lows as Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) executive committee, comprising PSF President Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, SVP Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi, Director PNSA Air Commodore (R) Aftab Sadiq Qureshi, Secretary Group Captain Tahir Sultan and squash legends Qamar Zaman and Jahangir Khan, has decided that Pakistan team would not take part in the 26th edition of the event.

Total 32 teams will be in action for the top honours during the mega squash event. Egypt are defending champions and top seeds while England are the seeded second, followed by France, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Germany, India, Canada, Finland, Switzerland, Malaysia, Scotland, USA, Spain and Wales. Pakistan had won this event for six times starting from 1977, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1993, as last time Pakistan won in 1993 in Karachi and Pakistan’s worst performance was in 2011, when Pakistan finished 21st in Paderborn, Germany.

The last date of submitting fee of £5,000 was July 16, but the PSF decided not to appear in the event because millions of rupees were invested on the senior players, who were provided countless opportunities to take part in PSA events worldwide, but the results were highly pathetic in the last several years.

When contacted a senior PSF official, he, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the decision was made in the best interest of squash and country. “As senior players including Farhan Zaman, Tayyab Aslam, Asim Khan, Israr Ahmed, Ammad Fareed and Farhan Mehboob, never wanted to train as per modern day requirements and whenever they were called for the training camp at Mushaf Squash Complex, Islamabad, they simply refused, so the PSF and PAF had to take such a harsh decision.

“It is very pinching that for the first time, we won’t take part in the world team championship, but it is also true that sending team for joyride and wasting huge amount of national kitty is also not a sensible move. I personally feel that we must invest heavily on junior lot, as they are giving satisfactory results,” he added.

Another official confirmed The Nation that the executive committee had made this decision, which was opposed by one top official during the meeting, who was in favour of sending the team for the event, but the overwhelming majority of the committee never looked convinced with the arguments because the senior players had consumed too much national wealth but failed to deliver.

“I feel Pakistan should have participated in the event no matter what results they produce. Pakistani players are still capable of beating any given side, subject to putting full efforts. I know senior players are not willing to play for the country, which their behavior and results show. The PSF provided every possible facility to them, but they are more interested in enjoying the foreign trips, getting TADAs, dailies than winning for the country,” he added.

The official disclosed that during the last world team championship in France, Pakistani players could have easily reach top 16 and then in top 8, but the players underperformed and lost badly. Around Rs 10 million were spent on their training, tickets, dailies and participation fee and the same amount was expected to be spent in this event.

If one agrees with the arguments presented by the PSF officials, even then the federation is at fault, as they should have ensured players must train as per its orders. It is hoped that the PSF President will take action against those, who are responsible of inflicting huge damages on the country and its squash.