ISLAMABAD - Pakistan squash team main hope Farhan Zaman looks highly optimistic about his team’s chances in the 25th World Team Squash Championship 2017, which will be played at Marseille, France from November 27 to December 3.

Farhan Zaman, who is nursing his right foot thump injury, said this while talking to The Nation, and added: “Although we finished 10th last time in France yet I am quite hopeful that despite having completely fresh team, I along with these young guns can produce wonders and help Pakistan claim at least same 10th spot.

“As many as 28 nations have been participating in the event and all the teams are very experienced. It depends a lot on how groups are formed. Off course, our players don’t have higher PSA rankings, so we have to face tough opponents in the initial round, but I think it is good for Pakistan, as players will settle down well. If we have to face tough opponents in later stages, it can end our journey much earlier,” he added.

Zaman said he injured his thumb as he had worn wrong-sized shoes, which badly damaged his thumb. “I underwent treatment in USA and spent heavily, but thankfully, now it have almost healed and I have started full training two days back. Now I am feeling much better and have no issue in moving freely in the court.

“Although Ammad, Shahjahan and Asim Khan are first-timers in the senior team, as last time we had the likes of Farhan Mehboob, Nasir Iqbal, Sh Saqib and I but now we don’t have those players, but the current ones are playing in the PSA tournaments and have good international exposure and top class training, so definitely, it will boost their morale and enhance their chances of doing well in international events,” he added.

Zaman said they are training in two sessions and around 5 hours daily. “It is good that the federation has arranged our departure two days earlier and we have one full day to recover and train before the action starts. All the participating nations have trained well for months and we will face stiff challenge. But we are also mentally and physically prepared and ready to go all out and win something for the country. I have not trained for two weeks due to injury and I was also suffering from severe cough. I went to specialist doctor and now I am completely fit and ready to play the leading role, which, being senior player, is my national and moral duty.”

Sharing his views, Pakistan Squash Federation honorary secretary Group Captain Tahir Sultan said: “We have given all-out backing and top class facilities to the players and also provided them with PSA events. We have played our part and now it is the players’ turn to pay back the confidence and heavy investment, we had made on them. “I feel that our team will improve last time results, as they have top class coaching and trainers, who worked on their mental and physical fitness. All these players have beaten top players to earn the right to represent the country,” he added.

The secretary said Faheem Gul, Asif Khan, Fazal Sher are working very hard with each and every player. “We have arranged courts for Pakistan team to train on 26th, a day earlier to the event, while M Boota and Kashif are also performing wonders with the players and spending a lot of time on their fitness.  We are carrying forward the vision of PSF president Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman and senior vice president Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi and we will continue to support our players, but we also expect at least satisfactory results from them,” Tahir concluded.