KARACHI: Two more squash players from Pakistan have left the country to play and earn in the United States.
Aqib Hanif (pictured above) and Hamza Bukhari from Punjab have left the country and are currently playing in the US.
Yasir Butt, Aurangzeb Mehmund and Waqar Mehboob have already left the country to play squash abroad.
Aqib has been playing in the US since April this year. His next event is Champion Fiberglass Open, to start from the 13th of this month in which he has got a wild card.
The last PSA event he won was Pakistan Circuit No1 in March 2012.
He was regarded among the most talented junior players in the country.His current PSA ranking is 143, while his highest ranking was 108 in April 2009.
Aqib told ‘The International News’ the “non-supportive attitude” of the Pakistan Squash Federation (PSF) was the major reason why he had to leave the country.
Aqib said he was facing many problems due to the lack of sponsorship from the PSF, “so the only solution is to leave the country”.
Hamza Bukhari is another talented junior player who did not get due recognition and support from the PSF and had to leave.
He was the champion of Under-19 Junior Open held in Scotland in January 2012. His highest PSA ranking is 148.
When contacted, Vice President Punjab Squash Association Rana Tariq said the players leaving the country could not be criticised because they had to secure their future. “The biggest issue for players here in Pakistan is of employment. Most of the players come from humble backgrounds. They have to have some regular earnings to support their families. The absence of any source of income makes them decide to leave the country,” he reasoned.
Waqar Mehboob hails from a well-known squash family, but he too did not see a bright future here and decided to go to the US last year. He, according to his father, is earning significant amounts of money while coaching at lower level in the US.
His brother Farhan Mehboob has also said he might leave the country to play in the US.
Aurangzeb Mehmund was another player from Punjab who went for this option and is now playing at Dayton Club, US.