KARACHI: By attaining third spot in the latest national ranking local cueist Zulfiqar A. Qadir has reminded the good old days when Sindh used to dominate the top 10 list at the national level, a study conducted by Dawn revealed.
Though at least three Sindh players were normally used to figure among the top 10 rankings for the last couple of years, none of them have been able to reach among top three as Qadir has done.
It is also unfortunate that he is the only local cueist among the top 10 and by doing so did Sindh proud. This became possible after he made it to the quarter-finals of the third national ranking competition where he lost 2-5 to former world champion Mohammad Asif last month. This enabled Qadir to leap three places — from sixth to third.
It is pertinent to mention that three Sindh cueists — Sultan Mohammad (sixth), Zulfiqar A. Qadir (eighth) and Abdul Sattar (ninth) — were among the top 10 when the first national rankings list was released after this year’s 43rd National Snooker Championship staged in February.
However, only Qadir (sixth) and Sultan (ninth) could find a place among top 10 after the second ranking list was issued on the conclusion of the NBP Cup held in August.
Former national champion Khurram Agha and Sohail Shahzad finished just below top 10 — 11th and 12th, respectively.
History shows that veteran Mohammad Yousuf, who had world and Asian titles under his belt, led Sindh’s domination for well over a decade in the yesteryear before calling it a day and upgrading his level to Master’s category.
The province, mainly the metropolis, has produced a large number of talented cueists among them were Latif Amir Bux, who died young, Tanveer Dada, Sarwar Siddiqui, Tahir Dada, Naveen Perwani and Atiiq Latif Bux.
Meanwhile, Punjab has maintained its stranglehold over a decade now and contrary to the other three provinces, the players were coming from a number of cities be it Faisalabad, Sargodha, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Toba Tek Singh or Samundari.
Strangely, despite tall claims made by the Pakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation (PBSF), the current situation is that there’s no snooker academy in the country due to which cueists play in different clubs.
“The much talked about snooker academy that was established at University of Agriculture Faisalabad with the help of PBSF has been closed since long and the players have to travel to Lahore for practice,” former Asian champion Hamza Akbar, who was in the city last month, had told Dawn.
Much hype was created in the media for the proposed Sindh snooker academy on a peace of land allotted to the games controlling body by the local government on lease but it was taken back as no progress was made for the purpose except constructing a boundary wall and erecting a gate.
A huge amount of money was wasted on the construction of boundary wall, gate and preparing architecture design for the academy.
“Parting of ways of Karachi Club and PBSF over a decade now is a major factor for the game’s declining standard in the city,” a source told Dawn.
People are witness of KC role in promoting the game when it was in infancy as besides hosting major competitions, it used to provide free access to cueists for practice in good environment courtesy Asghar Valika, who was elected life chairman of the PBSF by the general body after he stepped down as president.
He has also remained at the helm of affairs of the KC.
The Sindh Snooker Association also needs an urgent revamp in order to lift the standard of the game in the city and the province. People have never heard of any snooker activity taking place in Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas or elsewhere in the province.
Top 10 rankings:
1-Babar Masih (Punjab), 2-Mohammad Asif (Punjab), 3-Zulfiqar A. Qadir (Sindh), 4-Mohammad Majid Ali (Punjab), 5-Mohammad Bilal (Punjab), 6-Mohammad Asif Toba (Punjab), 7-Sharjeel Mehmood (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), 8-Shahid Aftab (Punjab), 9-Rambel Gul (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), 10-Aakash Rafique (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa).
Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2018