KARACHI: Pakistan’s top-ranked Professional Squash Association (PSA) player Nasir Iqbal has welcomed the Pakistan Squash Federation’s (PSF) initiative of awarding central contracts for the first time to national players.
The decision was taken with the launch of the Pakistan National Squash Academy (PNSA) in the Mushaf Squash Complex in Islamabad.
“Central contracts will provide financial security to the players and an incentive for the youngsters,” Nasir told The Express Tribune. “This step will help those who come from humble backgrounds to keep pursuing the game and not give up. Even I need that sort of backing where I’ll be earning from my department as well as from the PSF.”
Nasir added that players’ fitness would improve dramatically as, instead of short camps, the centrally contracted players would be under the PSF’s watch for six months, who would also arrange PSA tournaments that will ultimately allow them to improve their rankings in the world.
For the time being, the PSF has awarded contracts to six players — Nasir, Farhan Zaman, Danish Atlas Khan, Tayyab Aslam, Asim Khan and Israr Ahmed.
Seniors Farhan Mehboob and Amir Atlas Khan were not included in the line-up as they had decided against reporting to the camp and continue to be at loggerheads with the squash body.
“Nasir and Zaman are in the A category and they will get Rs35,000 per month for six months, while Danish and Tayyab are in B category and will receive Rs25,000. Youngsters Asim and Israr will earn Rs15,000 per month, and all these contracts will be revised after six months,” explained PSF secretary Amir Nawaz. “Better performers will be given more benefits in the contracts, but below-par performances can lead to deduction or termination as well.”
Nawaz said that so far his attempts to contact seniors Amir and Mehboob have failed to bear fruit. Should the two decide to reconcile and join the camp, the PSF is ready to welcome them and award contracts to them as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2015.
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