Saturday December 03, 2022

Pakistan squash dying a slow death

November 19, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Squash circles in Pakistan were shocked to watch the national team bowing down meekly in the Asian Senior Championship that recently concluded in Korea.

The extraordinary hype of the cricket World Cup put the squash debacle in the backdrop. Now that the World Cup is over followers of the game have started questioning one of the worst-ever performances of the national team at the Asian level.

The former world champions were beaten by Kuwait and India. Some Indian and Kuwaiti team members with absolutely no international credentials looked too strong for Pakistan players.

Pakistan players failed to even win a single game against the Indians. To the surprise of many, even a small nation like Kuwait, where the game of squash has yet to take its roots, looked formidable against the former world champions.

The defeats meant Pakistan failed to reach the knockout stages and finished fifth.

This worst-ever showing at the Asian Senior Squash came on the heels of the poor show by the Pakistani players in the CAS International where none of the locals made it to the semi-finals. There was a marked difference between the standard displayed by the Egyptians who ran away with all the honours at the event and the local players.

The two back-to-back debacles should have come as an eye-opener for the policymakers who were dreaming of raising a world champion in two years.

Pakistan squash seems far away from attaining a position where it can threaten the game’s powerhouses like Egypt and England. Even catching up with Asian countries like Hong Kong, India and Malaysia looks a far cry. The continuous slide is not without reasons.

Those handling the management and technical affairs at the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) offices are not capable of delivering nor do they seem interested in contributing to the cause. Often these officials are seen blaming players and their parents.

We have got some of the best youth around. It is during the grooming process that they lose their way. Neither coaches have any sense of modern training nor are the administrators equipped enough to realise the flaws and shortcomings.

Our team had never looked so pedestrian as it did in Korea.

When Wing Cdr Saud who managed the team in Korea was approached, first he was reluctant to talk and then said that the federation was about to take some decisions. “I am in no position to share the decisions. There are some coming up following the inquiry conducted by relevant officials. I hope things will improve in due course,” he said.

These are words that everyone has been listening to for years and years now but the standard has gone down considerably during the last few years. One wonders when the people who have decision-making powers will realise that those given the charge to administer and coach teams are not capable of delivering.