Islamabad: (report by Azmat Ali) due to some controversial decision of refereeing cost Farhan Mehboob $20,000 International Squash Tournament title, as he lost the final 2-3 against Egyptian Mohamed ElShirbini here at Mushaf Squash Complex Islamabad.
The first game started with ElShirbini dictating his terms and taking 8-2 lead, before it was 4-8. Farhan did save a game point, but ElShirbini shut the doors and took the first game 11-5 in 8 minutes. Farhan entered the second game with a completely changed frame of mind and first took 6-2 and then 9-3 lead and then played some superb shots to win the second game 11-5 in 7 minutes.
In the third game, ElShirbini raced onto take 3-1 lead, before it was 3-3 and it was 5-3 in Farhan’s favour, who then took 8-6 lead. ElShirbini started to make a lot of fuss, as referee didn’t see anything wrong and awarded no-let. Farhan, showing sportsman spirit, asked referee to award point to ElShirbini and soon it was 8-8, but Farhan shut the doors and won the 11-8 in 10 minutes.
The real drama started in the fourth game, Farhan was leading 2-0, then it was 3-2, before a few close calls went against him. Like witnessed so many times in the past, Farhan lost his cool and wanted to know why ElShirbini is given free hand, but referee Fayyaz asked him to play and stop arguing. Farhan half-heartedly started playing and soon he was 5-9 down, Farhan did win two points, but ElShirbini won the game 11-7 in 10 minutes.
Pakistan’s Farhan goes down fighting 2-3 against the Egyptian
In the fifth and decisive game, ElShirbini was trying to intimidate Farhan, but referee had completely closed his eyes and whenever Farhan wanted to seek his attention and pointed out at ElShirbini’s attitude, Fayyaz had one answer, play on as he didn’t see anything wrong. The entire crowd, legends and the federation had noticed the things, but the person, who mattered most was least bothered about it. ElShirbini was successfully working on his agenda and Farhan was completely frustrated. ElShirbiniwa took 9-6 lead and then won the game 11-8 in 12 minutes, thus lifted the first title on Pakistani soil.
Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) President Lt Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan graced the closing ceremony as chief guest, while PSF Senior Vice President Air Marshal Shahid Akhtar Alvi, squash legends Qamar Zaman, Jansher Khan and others were also present there. The chief guest handed over shield and $2,707 to ElShirbini and $1,710 to Farhan.
It was time and again mentioned that Fayyaz’ refereeing is a big question mark, but PSF head of referees Tahir Khanzada never paid any heed and always invited Fayyaz to enjoy holidays from federation’s pocket. The Egyptian was giving questionable gestures to Farhan during the rallies, but Fayyaz was not bothered. A number of biased calls, which went against Farhan, denied Farhan of title.
On poor refereeing, squash legend Qamar Zaman said: “Yes, the refereeing was not satisfactory as there were a number of dubious calls, which should have been given in favour of Farhan.” The PSF should at least pay heed towards legend Qamar’s statement and have some mercy on squash by ensuring no Fayyaz and company to conduct PSA matches in Pakistan from now on.