ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) elections are round the corner as some of the heavyweights have already started flexing their muscles to grab the top slot.

So far two clear front runners have emerged to battle it out for the top slot, while current president Kaleem Imam looks undecided to either contest or not. One heavyweight is Salim Saifullah Khan, who claims the support of sitting government, while another dark horse is Brig (r) Khalid Sajjad Khokar, who is so far a front runner due to his past track record and support of armed forces.

Since long Pakistan sports federations have been struggling to generate resources for the athletes’ training and their international exposure, time has come when the federations’ units start supporting those officials for top positions who have the ability to help and support their players morally and financially and have a say to send them abroad for much-needed international exposure.

Some of the officials in recent times played just a role of dummy having very less knowledge of the relevant games and how to muster finances for players’ training and tours. Today even the games of hockey and tennis are struggling to generate finances for different teams’ tours and training. Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has yet to give central contract amount to their top players mainly because of fund scarcity.

Almost same is the case with other sports. Pakistan sports federation need powerful heads to search for different option when it comes to organising junior and senior camps or to send them for training abroad. Former Pakistan hockey team manager Brig (r) Khalid Sajjad Khokar, who also had worked as PTF senior vice president with great success, is an official having unblemished career as a top sports official.

His success as hockey team manager helped Pakistan reach the semifinals of Sydney Olympics in 1998, sadly, it was last time Pakistan hockey team made it to the knockout stages of mega world event.

Services of such officials could well be utilized in games like tennis or hockey for strengthening the system. Pakistan sports require officials who could devote full time and energy for the uplift of the game in the country. Ex-head of Army Sports Board Khalid was instrumental in bringing harmony within the PHF when Pakistan participation in the Sydney Olympics was uncertain. Pakistan victory in six-nation Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) hockey event under his management was pinnacle of his era as manager of the national team.

On the other hand, Salim Saifullah is a very wealthy businessman and have the financial resources to run the federation, but PTF needs a head like Kaleem Imam, who was arguably instrumental in sending teams abroad, arranging ranking tournaments every month and record number of players represented Pakistan in international events especially he paid lot of attention towards junior and female players as well.

If Kaleem could have continued, it would have been quite better for tennis, as he was working on number of fresh ideas. But ground situation looks highly against him, as he always advocate the need of involving non-functional affiliated units and warned them to make their acts together, which becomes the main reason behind their alliance against Kaleem. Election is all set to be conducted in late November, odds are heavily favouring Brig Khalid. If elections were held, it seems he would be the front runner.