ISLAMABAD-Former 8-time world squash champion Jansher Khan has lamented the pathetic performance of national squash team during the 25th 2017 World Team Squash Championship in Marseille, France, where Pakistan finished 19th.

Talking to The Nation, Jansher said: “The way our players were thrashed first by Egypt and then by Switzerland, it is was not acceptable to the masses and off course, being the world champions, it hurt when our players go down so easily against such teams.”

He said it was purely due to players’ sheer negligence, which cost Pakistan dearly in the mega event. I feel that presently Pakistan No 1 Farhan Mehboob could have made the difference, if he was included in the team. Mehboob is very experienced and talented player and if the PSF utilizes him properly, he can win laurels for the country.”

He said: “It is very hard to find any example in the past when we lost against Egypt and then Swiss and finished pretty low at 19th. A country like India, which has no squash background, has managed to finish seventh in the world team event. It is really a moment of worry and the think tank must sit and seek complete details from the coach and manager and also from independent sources. An inquiry must be conducted against those, who are responsible for such pathetic results in such a big event. I never mind winning or losing, but if our players go down in this way, I am not going to keep quite.”

Jansher advised PSF senior vice president Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi not to invest on senior players, as it makes no sense of investing on old horses, who are not performing. “Winning at home soil is something different and performing abroad is totally a different thing. I feel the main reason behind the seniors’ downfall is lack of efforts and hard work, as they are not willing to train hard. Million of rupees are being spent on these players, but their poor results are enough to open the eyes of the federation.

“Instead of investing on seniors, the federation must invest 75 percent of the total available budget on juniors, as it will help the PSF gain desired results and within next 4 to 5 years. If the PSF does so, Pakistan will be able to reclaim the lost glory and reach the same heights, which it used to enjoy,” he added.

The squash legend said that for the last 15 years or so after his retirement, Pakistan squash has been struggling to get even ordinary results. “Despite the fact that the federation has been playing its role very sincerely and investing heavily on the players, but even then our players are not producing desired results. We were not such fortunate in our playing days, as only air tickets by PIA were available to us, while we managed all the funds by ourselves. Now the PSF is taking very good care of players, providing them PSA events, accommodation, meal, TA/DAs and whatever they demand, but the results are zero.

“I feel the federation had to work on war-footings on juniors, as it is the only viable solution to the existing problems. The juniors have potential to excel, as in recent past, they won world junior team championship and they are bound to excel in future as well. The PSF must start junior academies in across the country, as it will give 100 percent results,” he added.

He said like Hong Kong, Malaysia and Japan, Pakistan must also focus on conducting maximum junior tournaments, so that poor kids, who couldn’t afford to travel aboard, may get events, which will reap benefits for the country in return.

Jansher lauded the efforts of PSF president Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman for bringing $50,000 tournament after a gap of decade and also $25,000 females’ event to Pakistan. He also came down hard on previous PSF senior vice president and secretary saying they had done nothing for squash while during their era, the PSA had imposed ban on hosting international events in Pakistan. He suggested that Pakistan National Squash Academy must be run by professional people if the PSF wants Pakistan to reclaim past squash glory.