KARACHI: Pakistan’s top tennis player Aqeel Khan left here for Colombo on Tuesday on his maiden coaching assignment leaving Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) in a quandary ahead of the Asia Oceania Zone group two second round Davis Cup tie against South Korea from July 8 to 10.
“I’m leaving for Colombo to train the Sri Lankan team for their Asia Oceania Zone Davis Cup group three engagements for a fortnight and will be back by the middle of June,” he told Dawn shortly before departure.
He said: “I feel honoured after the Sri Lankan Tennis Association extended an invitation to prepare their team for the eight-nation round robin contest, which also takes place at Colombo from June 15 to 18.”
The eight countries which have been drawn into two pools are Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Myanmar, Oman, UAE, Vietnam and host Sri Lanka. Top two teams get promotion in group two in 2012 while the lowest two would be relegated to group four.
Asked about package he added that apart from return air ticket, accommodation and local hospitality he has been offered US $ 2,000 for a short stint.
Aqeel, 31, said the coaching assignment would also benefit him to get needed practice for Pakistan’s second round rubber against Koreans by playing against Lanka’s top player Harshana Godammana.
To a question, he dismissed the notion that he (Aqeel) didn’t avail PTF’s offer to travel anywhere in the world for training.
“After receiving an invitation letter from a US-based academy courtesy of former player Zulfiqar Rahim, I made efforts for the visa but was told that it would take at least 20 days for the interview which does not [even] guarantee a US visa,” he asserted.