There are people who want to help, who are willing to sacrifice a little to help tennis in Pakistan. But there is a problem, those who can help don’t know how to help.Those who know how to help, don’t have the capacity or capability to help.

Most of the top players in Pakistan throughout the history have been from humble backgrounds. There are a lot of self-made, rags to riches, well not quite ‘riches’ type of characters and stories in our past. After they are done with their playing careers, they naturally transform into coaches, as tennis comes naturally to them. Also, when you’re in your mid-thirties and have no other experience other than playing tennis, which by all means is no less than any other professional experience, you can only do so many things.

What has happened is that it has created a surplus of coaches. Players from the 70s are still coaching today in 2015, and so are players who finished playing in 2005. There are current players who coach to make money. At the same time, there are coaches who play to make some additional cash. The dilemma is that there are only so many tennis players in Pakistan. Who are all these coaches going to teach? Everybody wants to be a coach but there are only 15 odd players who are willing to pay good money to these past greats. These greats are the people who know how to help the country’s situation, or crisis but they are in no position to do so. They have to survive themselves first before they can help anyone else. And because most players don’t come from wealthy families, they are not going to spend the money to hire a coach.

But there’s hope, or we’d like to think that there’s hope. The Pakistan Tennis Federation has new leadership and a lot is being promised by them. Expectations are high as usual, and hopefully their performance meets them. They have already shown some intent and the vibes are positive.

It is the job of the federation to perform and deliver and we praise and acknowledge them if they do. But what is remarkable is when people from the community step forward and show passion and resolve for sports; people who both, ‘can’ and ‘know how,’ to help. That’s what we need. I believe we have that in the new president. He was a player himself. He went on to play college tennis in the United States at Carnegie Melon University. So hopes are high.

“Sports ETC” is one such organization that is comprised of young blood that is driven to change the scenario of sports in Pakistan. I got in touch with Yasir Hassan, the president of Sports ETC. He is another example of someone with the ‘can’ and ‘know how’ combination. He used to be a regular in the Lahore tennis circuit and made appearances on the national level too. He got his MBA from the Lahore School of Economics and is currently the CEO of EMP Innovations.

Yasir’s partners in this voyage are also very qualified and successful professionals in their fields. Shehryar Salamat is the vice president of Sports ETC and at the same time is the principal and director of Salamat School Systems. Ali Rahim, the secretary, is a lawyer by profession and is the founder and managing partner of Axis Law Associates. He has played squash at the national level for many years and still plays his leisurely evening squash in Gymkhana. Fazal Khan acts as the treasurer of Sports ETC and for his day job. He is the director of marketing in Polycon Pakistan Limited.

With a line-up as solid as this, Sports ETC aims high and has a clear vision. They only got registered as an NGO in December 2014 though they have been in action for a long time. Shehryar has been for a long time laying a lot of emphasis on sports in his school system. He regularly organizes interschool sports galas where kids from schools all over participate. He on his own has arranged several regional tennis tournaments in Bagh-e-Jinnah, Lahore. Ali and Fazal for the last few years have been supporting a couple of underprivileged junior tennis players from Lahore. They provide them with shoes, apparel, rackets and other equipment necessary for them to continue playing. Yasir has been sponsoring travel expenses for some promising juniors so they can play the national circuit.

All of them have been helping tennis because of their love for the sport. They all, except Ali, play regular club tennis at the Lahore Gymkhana. They have been doing what they could in their capacities for a long time but they wanted to expand and create a bigger impact and therefore, Sports ETC.

Sports ETC aims to work towards advancement of amateur sport and foster a culture of health and fitness. They want to create opportunities for the youth to be able to participate in sports and healthy recreation and make them aware of the physical, mental and emotional health benefits of sports.

Yasir believes that sports are very important to a child’s balanced personal development. It trains kids to become leaders, teaches them teamwork and how to deal with ups and downs, wins and losses. Sports ETC wants to establish, manage, promote and or subsidize sports academies and centers.

The group is on the mission of creating a broad network of local and international financial support and raise funds for the sustainable development of the trust’s objectives. So far all four trustees have been supporting athletes on an individual level from their own pockets. Now that they are registered, they have started approaching people from all industries and corporations. In short they are approaching anyone and everyone in order to create awareness and raise funds.

It is good to see that there are things like this happening. I hope these guys stay committed and Sports ETC excels and with it tennis in Pakistan.

Abid Akbar is a former Under-18 national champion, a scholar-athlete at the university of Idaho, the assistant coach of his alma mater's tennis program and currently a professional tennis player