May 16, 2018

Asghar Valika urges for enhancing snooker rewards

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By Ehsan Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The pioneer and key promoter of snooker in Pakistan, Ali Asghar Valika, has called for enhancing the prize money in the national circuit and take it to millions so that the country could sustain its supremacy in the international arena.

“The manner in which the game has progressed and the consistency with which the Pakistani cueists have performed at the world and the Asian level the prize money of the national events merits considerable enhancement to keep them motivated,” Asghar Valika, a former President of the Asian Confederation of Billiards Sports (ACBS), observed in an interview at the Karachi Club on May 15. 

“There is no major increase in the incentives and prize money for almost a decade now. We must offer at least Rupees one million as prize money in every event to make the circuit more competitive and thus raise the standard of the game,” he suggested. 

Having headed the Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) for a couple of decades from 1988 to 2008, he didn’t mince words in stating the enhancement of prize money of national tournaments was the need of the hour. 

“Our brilliant cueists have achieved excellence in the game with a couple of world individual titles besides two team titles. They are a force to be reckoned with at the Asian level,” Asghar Valika, under whose leadership took the game to new heights in Pakistan, remarked. 

The legendary Muhammad Yousuf had made the major breakthrough by winning the IBSF World Championship in South Africa in 1994 before clinching the Asian title at Karachi in 1998.

Asghar Valika was of the opinion that the PBSA should curtail their administrative expenses and only one official should accompany the team and also manage the team and being the delegate. 

He also advised the PBSA to make money through televised matches. He dispelled the impressions of disharmony in PBSA Executive Committee after Munawwar Hussain Shaikh took over from Alamgir Anwar Shaikh after his two terms as the President. 

Asghar Valika said that Pakistan desperately needed a permanent coach who should train, groom and tactically prepare our cueists for international level. 

“Our cueists are doing well at the international level and international coach can further harness their game and mentally toughen them,” he added. 

Responding to a question, he said he doesn’t need recognition from anyone and feels proud and satisfied with whatever he contributed for the game of snooker in Pakistan. 

“I don’t need any reward or award because achievement of players during my era and now make me happy and satisfied that they brought honor and glory to the country,” Asghar Valika said. 

He made it clear that he was elected as the Life Chairman of PBSA by General Body and not by the executive committee. 

Asghar Valika showed his disappointment over the fact that no national snooker activity was taking place at Karachi Club’s Amir Bakhsh Billiards Hall which used to be the hub of Pakistan Snooker in the past. 

“Snooker activity at Karachi Club was stopped due to misunderstanding and efforts are afoot for it revival there. The Latif Masters should also be revived as it was a major event held in memory of Pakistan’s greatest billiards player, who finished runners-up in world championship in India,” he continued. 

He recalled that PBSA struggled in early 1980s but sponsorship and support of Red & White and its marketing head, Shahid Ahmad Khan, changed the destiny of Pakistan snooker. 

Asghar Valika, who remained the boss of Asian body for six years, said that holding of Asian Snooker in Karachi in 1991 and later staging of IBSF World Snooker Championship made Muhammad Yousuf, Yasin Merchant, Pradit Chuchat (Thailand) household names after matches were nationally live televised. 

He wanted the PSBA to must open up and induct peoples from other provinces in their fold and also hold a couple of event outside Karachi. 

“Snooker should not be confined to Karachi and events should be held in other provincial capitals as well on rotation basis,” he concluded

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May 10, 2018

President-elect Nadeem Omar set to take KCCA to higher level

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The President-elect of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), Nadeem Omar, has already set the ball rolling by getting in touch with the concerned quarters for implementing his plans aimed at reviving the game in a big way.

He has been elected unopposed as the KCCA President as he enjoyed overwhelming electoral support prompting his predecessor and challenger Prof Ejaz Ahmed Farooqui to withdraw his candidature the other day. 

The notification in this regard from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is being awaited and it may be delayed until polling for the slot of the KCCA Secretary is held in a few weeks. 

Nadeem Omar, a veteran sports promoter and a cricket administrator, having founded and managed successful cricket teams like Omar Associates, Omar Cricket Club and Capricorn Discount Cards, besides Quetta Gladiators, has begun his journey of transforming the KCCA into a bigger entity than it was ever before. 

The KCCA President-elect shared some of the exciting plans he has worked out to revolutionize the KCCA. He has already started making moves towards his strategic plan, covering nearly aspect of the game. 

The development of a new structure of cricket for Karachi features prominently on his agenda as he plans to have the KCCA managed as professionally as any other modern cricket association anywhere in the world. 

“First and foremost I have set the goal of reviving the KCCA Stadium in North Nazimabad. I plan to install floodlights at the ground besides improving the condition of the stadium. This would be the home of Karachi cricket,” he declared. 

“Secondly I have already spoken to the PCB to let the KCCA gets its share of space at the National Stadium where I intend to build a library and museum of Karachi cricket apart from setting up the High Performance Centre with the KCCA Academy. There are vacant spaces within the compound of the National Stadium and the KCCA is interested in using it,” Nadeem Omar disclosed. 

He has the plans for revitalizing the club cricket, with the help of its seven zones, on a war footing. He’s equally eager to launch proper cricket tournaments for schools, colleges and universities with the collaboration of the local education departments in order to engage a larger pool of students. 

“I would be interested in exposing the youngsters to matches of longer duration from an early age so that they face no problems when graduating to first-class cricket. We will have annual tournaments of three-day matches as well as T20 events,” he added. 

His plans include the development of news complexes containing a full-fledged cricket grounds where first-class matches could be played besides reviving the historic grounds like the Karachi Parsi Institute (KPI) where the legendary Hanif Muhammad played that epic knock of 499. 

Nadeem Omar emphasized on quickly developing and uploading a state-of-the-art website of the KCCA, to be updated on a daily basis, which would have details about coaches, umpires, scorers, clubs, departments, grounds, rules, women’s tournaments besides other features of general interest.

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May 1, 2018

Efforts to promote baseball in Sindh

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By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB), working for the promotion of baseball at grassroots level, has lately shown interest in development of sports in the province of Sindh. 

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, has recently undertaken a tour of Karachi for the purpose of promoting the game in Sindh. 

He met with Vice Chancellors of different universities in Karachi to introduce Baseball game at university level. Prof Dr Sarosh Hashmat Lodi, Vice Chancellor, NED University of Engineering and Technology, appreciated the efforts of the PFB for the promotion of baseball in Sindh.

He assured his full support to prepare his university baseball team for the participation in Inter-varsity Baseball Championship. 

He requested the PFB President to organize an exhibition match after Eid-ul-Fitr in Karachi to introduce baseball among students. 

The PFB President offered to provide baseball equipment as well as a coach to the NED University. 

Prof Dr Muhammad Afzal Haque, Vice Chancellor, Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET), was also appreciative of the efforts of Pakistan Federation Baseball for the promotion of baseball in Sindh.

He assured his full support to prepare his university baseball team for the participation in Inter-varsity Baseball Championship. 

The PFB President volunteered to provide baseball equipment and a coach to the SSUET. 

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah also met with Muhammad Altaf Tai, Chairman, Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan (ABAD), Southern Region. 

The ABAD official vowed to support and help in the promotion of baseball particularly its national and international events in Pakistan. 

The PFB President also donated baseball equipment to the Sindh Baseball Association (SBA) to encourage them for working more proactively for the promotion of the game in the province.

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March 11, 2018

Army edge out WAPDA to win National Baseball Championship 2018

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By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan Army edged out Pakistan WAPDA 8-6 in the final of the 23rd Khawar Shah National Baseball Championship 2018, held at Bahria Town, Lahore, under the auspices of the Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB), on March 10.

Pakistan Army, Pakistan WAPDA and Pakistan clinched gold, silver and bronze medals respectively in the six-day event dedicated to the late Syed Khawar Shah, a former President of the federation in recognition of his monumental services to the game of baseball. 

The gold medal match consisted of nine innings. Saqib and Majeed scored two runs each for Army while Arsalan Jamshaid, Ubaidullah, Faqir Hussain and Nazir Ahmed contributed a run each. Arsalan Jamshaid, Faqir Hussain and Nazir Ahmed hit home runs for their team. 

For WAPDA Fazal ur Rehman and Zakir Afridi scored a couple of runs each, Burhan Johar and Zubair Nawaz contributed one run each while Zakir Afridi hit two home runs for his team. 

Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Syed Arif Hassan, President, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), was the chief guest in the final. He distributed medals among winners in the presentation ceremony. 

Shaukat Javed Chairman, PFB, Muhammad Khalid Mahmood, Secretary General, POA, Brig. Ghulam Jilani, Director, Army Sports, and Muhammad Jamil Ahmad Rana, Secretary General, Pakistan Tug of War Federation, were also present on the occasion. 

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, and Executive Director, Bahria Town Lahore, welcomed the chief guest and other dignitaries. Brig. Ghulam Jilani awarded bronze medals to the Pakistan Police Team, Shaukat Javed presented silver medals to Pakistan WAPDA team and Lt Gen Syed Arif Hassan gave away gold medals and the championship trophy to Pakistan Army baseball team. 

Muhammad Usman, pitcher of Pakistan WAPDA, was adjudged Man of the Tournament award, named after Khawar Shah, and he received it from the chief guest. 

Talking to the media, Lt. Gen Arif Hassan, President, POA, appreciated the performance of both teams and desired that the Pakistan baseball team earned laurels for Pakistan from abroad. 

He reckoned that there was a marked improvement in the development of baseball in Pakistan under the supervision of new leadership. 

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, informed that they will hold national training camp of the Pakistan baseball team at the Pakistan Sports Complex, Islamabad, to prepare for participation in Asian Games 2018 to be staged in Indonesia.

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March 8, 2018

Army, WAPDA enter final of National Baseball Championship 2018

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By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan Army and Pakistan WAPDA have qualified for the final of the 23rd Khawar Shah National Baseball Championship 2018, being held at Bahria Town, Lahore, under the auspices of the Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB). 

The gold medal match will be taking place on March 10. Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Syed Arif Hassan, President, Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), will be the chief guest in the final and distribute medals among winners in the presentation ceremony.

The six-day event has been dedicated to the late Syed Khawar Shah, a former President of the federation in recognition of his monumental services to the game of baseball. 

Meanwhile Pakistan Police secured bronze medal by defeating Punjab 10-0 in the playoff for third position. 

Atif, Yasir, Saleem Haider and Muzammil scored two runs each and Abdullah and Arfan contributed one run each for the winning side.

The Man of the Match award was clinched by Tariq Nadeem of Pakistan Police as he had pitched very well and did not allow the Punjab players to score any run against him. 

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, and Director, Bahria Sports, was the chief guest on the fourth Day of the championship. Muhammad Mohsin Khan, Senior Vice President, PFB, welcomed the chief guest who was introduced to the players.

Earlier, a couple of matches were held on the third day. In the first game Pakistan Army trounced Pakistan Police 21-0. 

Faqir Hussain scored four runs while Arsalan Jamshaid, Ubaidullah and Muhammad Rafi scored three runs each, Hidayatullah, Saqib Khan and Mazhar scored two runs each and Nazir and Waseem contributed one run each. 

Pakistan WAPDA overcame Punjab 16-2 in the other match. For WAPDA Umair Bhatti score 4 runs, Zaheer topscored for WAPDA with three runs, Muhammad Waseem, Fazal-ur-Rehman and Zubair Nawaz scored two runs each and Sumair Zawar, Burhan Johar, Adnan Butt and Zakir Afridi contributed one run each. For Punjab, Usman and Usama score one run each. For WAPDA Umair Imdad Bhatti also hit a home run.

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March 7, 2018

National Baseball Championship 2018 underway in Lahore

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By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
 (Pakistan News & Features Services)

The 23rd Khawar Shah National Baseball Championship 2018 has got underway at Bahria Town, Lahore, being staged under the auspices of the Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB). 

A couple of more matches were held on the second day of the six-day event. Idris Haider Khawaja, Secretary General, Punjab Olympic Association, was the chief guest on the second day of championship. 

According to the details made available by Shah Mazhar Ahmad, Secretary General, PFB, the chief guest upon his arrival was greeted by Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, before being introduced to the players.

The first match was played between FATA and KPK. It turned out to be a close encounter in which KPK edged out their opponents 9-8. 

Mansoor, Hameed and Faisal scored a couple of runs each while Waseem, Abid and Asim contributed a run apiece for the winning side. 

Irfan and Gohar kept FATA in the hunt by scoring two run each while Waheed, Nasim, Hazaratullah and Attaullah scored a run each. In the second match of the day, Punjab proved too good for KPK whipping them by a staggering margin of 12-0.

Ali Raza and Afraz played brilliantly for Punjab as they scored three runs each, Nasir score a couple runs while Asif, Zeeshan, Zeeshan Rasheed and Bilal contributed a run each. Ali Raza also hit a home run. 

On the third day of the competition, Pakistan Army was due to take on Pakistan Police while WAPDA will be up against Punjab in the second game to be held later in the afternoon. 

The national championship has been dedicated to the late Syed Khawar Shah, a former President of the federation in recognition of his unforgettable services to the game. 

Teams from Balochistan, KPK, Sindh, Punjab, FATA, Islamabad, Pakistan WAPDA, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Police and HEC are participating in the championship.

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March 5, 2018

National Baseball Championship 2018 dedicated to Khawar Shah

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By Abdul Qadir Qureshi 
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The 23rd Khawar Shah National Baseball Championship 2018 is being organized by the Pakistan Federation Baseball (PFB) at Bahria Town, Lahore, from March 5 to 10.

Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, President, PFB, shared with the media that it’s the first national baseball championship to be held after the death of Syed Khawar Shah, a former President of the federation. 

“Khawar Shah was a towering and dedicated personality of sports in Pakistan who rendered meritorious services while in government service and also as an office bearer of various sports bodies. His final assignment was as the President of Pakistan Federation Baseball where he was responsible for lift the game to high standards in the last few years,” Fakhar Shah remarked. 

“In recognition of his unforgettable services to the game, the federation has renamed the national baseball championship as 23rd Khawar Shah National Baseball Championship being held at Aashiq Hussain Baseball Stadium in Lahore’s Bahria Town,” he disclosed. 

Teams from Baluchistan, KPK, Sindh, Punjab, FATA, Islamabad, Pakistan WAPDA, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Police and HEC are participating in the Championship. 

Meanwhile the manager’s meeting was chaired by Fakhar Shah prior to the start of the six-day event which was also attended by Muhammad Mohsin Khan, Senior Vice President PFB and Chairman, Organizing Committee, Jamil Kamran, Chairman, Technical Committee and Zafar Hussain Warraich, Organizing Secretary.

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February 23, 2018

Asghar Valika regrets loss of form of top cueists

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By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Chairman of the Pakistan Billiard & Snooker Association (PBSA), Ali Asghar Valika, the father figure of snooker in the country, has regretted the loss of form of some of the top cueists of the country and hoped that efforts will be made to keep them motivated and inspired.

In the next Board meeting he plans to propose to the PBSA Executive to take measures to ensure that the once leading cueists of the country continue performing more consistently. 

He was concerned with the loss of form the cueists Muhammad Sajjad and Shahid Aftab, both former champions, who performed much below par in the Jubilee Insurance 43rd National Snooker Championship 2018 held at the Karachi Gymkhana a few days ago. 

Asghar Valika, who revived the Pakistan snooker while leading the PBSA from 1988 to 2008, didn’t mince words in stating that he was not impressed with the performance of the eventual champion (Muhammad Asif) either. 

“I have a feeling that Asif couldn’t reproduce the form which had made him the world champion in 2012 and the national champion earlier the same year,” he observed.

“The youngsters like Asif, Sajjad, Shahid and a few others had first come into prominence when I was heading the Association. They had shown flashes of brilliance in early career and we took care of them to boost their confidence and skills. They have repaid by having performed well internationally over the years but now some chinks in their armoury are becoming visible,” the PBSA Chairman added. 

“Now the time has come for the management to talk to them and take care of their needs. Personally I feel that they would become much more productive if mentored by prolific coaches. They are blessed with talent and experience but they do need guidance and direction,” he explained.

“While it’s very heartening that the youngsters are emerging from every nook and corner of the country to challenge the top cueists of the country but we must not lose sight of the fact that the current lot of experienced cueists have brought us laurels in the recent past. They deserve to be looked after properly,” Asghar Valika felt. 

He was optimistic that the present leadership of the PBSA, which was eager to further promote cue sports in the country, will take remedial measures without further delay.

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