ISLAMABAD - MOHSIN ALI - Pakistan Squash Federation started a training camp at the Jansher Khan Squash Complex, Abbottabad  and six players had reported to head coach Jamshed Gul.

The players who had reported are Nasir Iqbal, Farhan Mahboob, Farhan Zaman, Waqas Mahboob, Nausherwan and Safiullah Kakar while other eight players will join after the CAS Squash Championship.

Junior female players are busy in an event in Rawalpindi, but senior players are available, then what are the reasons, the federation did not invite them for the camp? It is very clear that the PSF has no plans to promote female squash and all their tall claims are only fantasy and it has nothing to do with reality.  Asian power houses in squash are expected to participate in the Asian Seniors Squash Championship to be held in Islamabad and  instead of taking this event seriously the PSF is busy somewhere elseand hoping miracles to happen.

A total of 14 players were expected to join the camp set up mainly for the upcoming event at a venue which has only three available courts and among those three only one can be used for practice. The PSF has claimed that Aamir Atlas and Danish Atlas Khan will attend the camp but they did not attend because they are injured.

The conditions of Attottabad will be completely different from the ones in Islamabad. The logic behind setting up the camp at such a venue is hard to absolve and not going to help the cause of the players, who are bidding to win the championship at their own backyard.  Jamshed had the services of one assistant coach Ikram for the time being and he claimed soon another assistant M Naeem. How will it be possible for Jamshed and his two assistants to train the players on only one court? It seems the PSF is not taking the event seriously which is of great significance not only for players but also for the country as it will signal the return of the international squash to Pakistan after a long gap.

The squash federation in the past too had hired assistant coaches but they were not paid a single penny for their services and things are going in the same direction once again.  An inside source has told this scribe that despite several promises made by the federation of providing the coaches due amount for their services, in reality they were not given any thing so far. Despite the fact, assistant coach Ikram had work very hard with both male and female junior players who had done wonders in the recently-concluded Asian Junior Squash Championship.

First Punjab Squash Association ignored even the coach for the ceremony held in Lahore in honour of the gold medal winning male players. The PSF finally decided to hold a meeting with president Tahir Rafique Butt at Air Headquarters, where the players and coach were awarded a meager Rs 50,000 each by the federation, but here too the federation did not even bother to honour assistant coach Ikram which is an injustice with a guy who is totally dependent on earning from squash as he has no other source of earnings.

The PSF should respect the feelings of the players and especially the persons who lend a great helping hand to the federation by participating and winning laurels for the country at national and international level. The players are totally dependent on squash earnings as they have no other option or sponsorship to meet their both ends. Squash is a very expensive sport and players have to rely on their parents for rackets, balls and traveling. The question arises why the kids choose this game where no one wants to invest a single penny. So it is the moral and national duty of the PSF to take good care of the players, who have great potential of bringing back the old glory days of Pakistan squash. But to achieve this mission, the federation has to spend generously and instead of playing with the facts and figures, they must accept the ground realities.

The PSF should shift the camp immediately to Islamabad and hire more assistant coaches to not only facilitate the coaches but also the players. Above all, Pakistan is blessed in the field of squash as we have the world’s best coach in the shape of Faheem Gul his services should be utilized for such an important event. Personal egos must be set aside and the country should be given top priority to get desired results.

The harder the players train under qualified and experienced coaches with conducive environment suitable to the players, it will certainly lift the chances of the players to excel in front of their home crowd and someone from them win not only male but female event too. Calibre is there, proper coaching, provision of facilities will put icing on the cake.