KARACHI: The Pakistan Sports ministry has approved the appointment of India’s Sanjay Sawant as snooker coach for the upcoming Asian Games and the Snooker World Championship, according to the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA).
PBSA President Alamgir Sheikh said that the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the ministry will release the funds amounting to Rs 1.5 million for the camp as well as coaching, as soon as the interior ministry completes its procedure of issuing the work permit to Sawant and acquiring the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the High Commission in New Delhi.
“PBSA has been trying to hire a foreign coach for almost a decade now,” Sheikh told The Express Tribune. “This is a great opportunity, and given that Mohammad Sajjad has done very well in the Asian Snooker Championship and the Korat Open in Thailand, the PBSA is expecting a medal in the Asian Games this year. It is a high time we hired a foreign coach to polish the talent that we have in the country.”
The association expected Sawant to arrive in Pakistan on September 1, but since the interior ministry will take time in issuing the work permit to the former Indian cueist , the association will now be holding the camp from October 1 after the Third Ranking Tournament.
PSBA has proposed to hire Sawant for three month-long visits, the first is planned from October till November to cover the Asian Games and the World Championship. The second visit will take place in February while the third one will be in April.
Meanwhile, Sajjad has also welcomed the appointment of Sawant. “It’s the first time that we will be formally trained. Sawant has been working with the Indian snooker team as well, and they have done well. I think that the step of hiring a coach shows that the attitude towards snooker has changed.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2010.