ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Asian Style Kabaddi team national coach Badshah Gul and captain Nisar Ali are upbeat about their teams chances in the upcoming South Asian Games in India next year.

Talking to The Nation, head coach Badshah Gul blamed lack of international exposure and holding of only two national events behind Pakistan team poor show in international events and failing to win gold medal yet. “I had won two silver medals as player in 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok and 2006 Asian Games in Doha, while I also won bronze medal in 2002 Asian Games in Bosan, Korea. I had attended a number of coaching courses abroad and also done Level-I, Level-II and Level-III coaching courses from India and Pakistan.”

Badshah said: “I took national team to China in 2012 Asian Beach Games, where we won silver medal, as we lost to mighty Iran in the final. I was also with the Pakistani players as official in Indian Pro-Kabaddi League. Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF) and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) are providing facilities, supplements and nutrition to the players and we have been enjoying excellent meal and training facilities in Islamabad. Accommodation of male players is also up to the mark, while we are given extra care by Assistant Director Hostels Malik Imtiaz Hussain and DDG Facilities Agha Amjedullah.”

“I request the PSB to arrange international training for players and ensure at least 8 to 10 national competitions every year and start work on producing grassroots level players. There are a lot of players in free style kabaddi, but very few players turn towards Asian Style kabaddi. The federation must start conducting school, college and university level kabaddi matches and should urge departments to conduct inter-department championships, which can prove nursery of providing top stuff to national team. We have a few bright junior players, but we need more players so that we may work on them at early age,” he said and added: “We have 20 senior players in the camp for the last one-month or so and they are training hard for the SAF Games.”

When asked why they started training camp so late, Badshah replied: “The players were busy in national championship. Our training is going on very well and there is still time left before the SAF Games. We have nine players from Army, six from Navy, three from PAF and two from Wapda. Army, PAF and Wapda provide jobs to the players, but there is an urgent need for other departments to hire kabaddi players. The government must offer lucrative incentives to attract youth towards Asian style kabaddi, as without offering incentives and holding maximum events, we can't even think about competing against the top teams of Asia.”

“India has been investing heavily on their players but our players can't even get proper training camps, so thinking about national and international competitions is a far cry. We can't produce world class team by conducting only national championship and national games. We need to enhance tournaments ratio and hold at least a dozen championships every year, send our players for foreign tours/training and invite international teams to play in Pakistan. It is my challenge, if provided with exposure, our players can create waves and earn medals for the country,” Badshah concluded.

Kabaddi team skipper Nasir Ali said: “Pakistani players are not given any incentive and cash prize, so how can one expect extraordinary performances from them. The government must ensure that the players must be provided reasonable jobs and ensure departments to provide jobs also make sure the national games organisers must place reasonable cash for Asian Style kaabadi events.”

Nisar said: “We have bright chances in the SAF Games and I hope we will play the final. I can't commit, we will win gold medal, as Indian's are way ahead in every department and investing heavily on their players so they hot favourite yet we will try our best and try to finish the event as medal winners,” Nisar concluded.