October 4, 2010

PBSA denied foreign coach for Asian Games


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Obviously the officials of the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association (PBSA) are feeling bitterly disappointed at being denied the permission to acquire the services of Sanjay Sawant as Pakistan coach for the next month’s Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

The PBSA President, Alamgir Anwar Shaikh, considered the non-issuance of NOC for Sanjay Sawant of India as a major setback to their plans adding that it’s also a big blow to their medal hopes in the Asiad.

Alamgir Shaikh informed the media in Karachi that the PBSA had received a communication in this regard from the Islamabad-based Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) explaining that the hiring of a foreign coach was examined in consultation with the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The PBSA President stated that they have been informed by the PSB that the Ministry of Interior has regretted issuance of NOC in this case.

Alamgir Shaikh didn’t mince words in stating the the PBSA desperately needed a foreign coach in preparations for the Asian Games camp starting in Islamabad from October 15.

“The PBSA is due to name a five-member Pakistan squad next week. We were hoping that the PSB and the Interior Ministry would issue NOC to the PBSA for hiring the services of Sanjay Sawant as coach but all our efforts went in vain,” he said.

The PBSA had been under fire in the past for not having engaged a qualified coach in order to prepare and fine tune the promising youngsters in particular for the various regional and international competitions.

When the PBSA finally made up their mind to acquire the services of a coach now they have been denied the permission by the concerned authorities.

The PBSA authorities have repeatedly spoken about their shrinking resources following the ban on cigarette sponsorship, prompting them to seek governmental support besides knocking the doors of the corporate sector.

Since Pakistan’s cueists had bagged medals in the Asian Games in 1998 as well as in 2002 their case was stronger case to urge the government to financially support the PBSA.

Alamgir Shaikh has been running from pillar to post to let the end meet but the support from the government side has declined after the departure of Pir Syed Aftab Shah Jilani as Federal Minister of Sports.

Pir Aftab was himself a sportsman and he was more than willing to promote the bodies having the potential to earn glories and medals for the country. The PBSA also benefited greatly during his tenure as the Federal Sports Minister.

Things have changed since then and the PBSA has not been able to secure grants from the Federal Ministry of Sports or the Pakistan Sports Board despite continued correspondence and follow-up.

The Federal Sports Ministry had committed to foot the bill for the foreign coach the PBSA was planning to hire as the basic objective was to train the cueists for the Asian Games. With the non-issuance of NOC to Sanjay Sawant the PBSA functionaries have very little time to get hold of a coach from any other country.


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