KARACHI: Holding glittering trophies in their hands but disappointed with government’s attitude, Pakistan’s snooker team returned home after winning the IBSF World Snooker championship in Egypt.
Pakistan team comprising of Muhammad Asif and Babar Masih, won the title, beating countrymen Muhammad Sajjad and Asjad Iqbal in the final as both the finalist teams were from Pakistan — a first, in the history of Snooker.
Players were received by officials of Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Association at Karachi airport. However, not a single government official was present on the occasion.
“Forget them announcing anything, they didn’t even say anything to congratulate the players,” said Alamgir Sheikh, co-chairman of PBSA.
Players were also disappointed at being neglected by the government, yet still expressed commitment to win more titles for Pakistan.
“When the cricket team won the Champions Trophy, everyone was here to welcome them, everyone announced rewards for them, but nothing of that sort has been done for us, which is disappointing,” said Muhammad Asif, who has now five major titles in Snooker for the country.
“It is disappointing, but yet we are committed to being more laurels for country,” he said.
Pakistan has won three major Snooker titles in a span of two months. Cueists wearing green blazers has earlier won World U18 and Asian 6 reds title.
“I request government to pay attention to Snooker the way it pays attention to Cricket or other sports,” said Muhammad Sajjad who was runner up in team championship and won Asian 6reds earlier.
“This step motherly treatment will demoralise snooker players and push performers to oblivion,” he added.
Players were of the view that no one waited for a moment before announcing rewards for Cricketers while they were ignored by all quarters.
“Are we not the county’s Hero,” asked Asjad Iqbal.
“We are also winning titles for Pakistan. Our medals are more than Cricketers medals, we also deserve some rewards, which is or right,” he said.
But despite all the complaints and grievances, players said that they are proud of what they have achieved and Pakistan Snooker is at its peak.
“Thanks to Allah that we have been winning continuously, which is a good sign. This was the first time in history that both the finalist teams of world championship are from same country,” said Babar Masih, who partnered with Asif to win the final.
“It’s a proud moment for Pakistan,” cheered Asif when asked how he’s feeling to be crowned as World champion, once again.
Snooker’s governing body in Pakistan, the PBSA aims to contact government officials to convey players grievances.
“Firstly, I would say that this is a gift from Snooker to country on 70th Independence Day,” said Munawar Sheikh, president PBSA.
“We will do what we can and we will also talk to PSB and other authorities to convey players grievances to the government,” he added.