October 31, 2013

Shahram Changezi seeks departmental support to boost snooker in Pakistan


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Shahram Changezi, a former national champion and one of the most accomplished cueists of the country, firmly believes that snooker can’t rise phenomenally in Pakistan until the departments lend the kind of support they do to other games.

““The departments hold the key to the future of snooker in Pakistan. The financial constraints would be overcome and the game will stand of its feet once they are on board. The Pakistan Billiards & Snooker Association (PBSA) should get affiliated to the legitimate Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) which would pave the way for the key departments to help the game in a big way,” the winner of bronze medal in the 2010 Asian Games snooker team event remarked in an interview. 

“Another factor having hindered the growth of snooker has been the lack of representation of as many as three provinces in the governing body of cue sports which is supposed to be a national federation of all four provincial units,” the Islamabad-based Shahram pointed out. 

Arguably the most educated of all the cueists in the national circuit, he has had difference of opinion with the functionaries of the PBSA on several occasions but he has not been afraid to call a spade a spade.

He has repeatedly reiterated the demand of sending a manager-cum-coach, having technical expertise, to accompany the cueists on every foreign trip rather than promoting joyriders.

“The cueists must not be allowed to leave the shores of the country until they are being accompanied by a manager-cum-coach, who should be a former international player himself. It will be great support to the cueists on and off the table. We don’t need more than one official on any tour,” he stressed.

Shahram regretted that the best available snooker facilities of the country, housed in Islamabad, was not been adequately utilized.

“I have spoken to the PBSA officials about it on a quite a few occasions and they cited the unwillingness of the sponsors to support any event as the reason for not availing the facility available in the federal capital. With better planning and far-sighted approach we could have had more snooker tournaments here,” he believed.

He looked unaware of the issues having plagued the PBSA lately but he expressed his concern over the resignations of top office-bearers. 

“I have read in the newspapers about the resignations but don’t know the details. To be honest I have been out of touch with the PBSA for quite sometime but as a cueist I am sad to learn about all this. All I can say is that let’s think big and dream high irrespective of the existing realities,” Shahram opined. 

 He did not mince words in stating that Pakistan’s Mohammad Asif, the reigning world amateur champion, should have tried his luck in the professionals’ circuit. 

“Asif, after having received financial rewards from the various quarters, appeared to have enough resources besides the opportunity to enter the professional arena but I am not sure why he didn’t go there. I would have advised him to turn professional as there are no Pakistanis in the circuit. His presence there would have been a boost for the country,” Shahram concluded.

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