It is not the first time that our players met such treatment from the Indian authorities. Many occasions in the past, intentionally or unintentionally, India had refused the visas to Pakistani players.
On several instances it happened that Indian authorities issued visas only on the day of departure, keeping the Pakistani players guessing. Taking into account the past experience, the negative response from the Indian visa authorities meant little for kabaddi players.
The main concern is the confirmation of their participation in competitions in India by our sports federations and sports organizers. As though it is not enough, the Indian teams had also been refusing to visit Pakistan many a time in the past even after sending confirmation.
India has no qualms in taking such decisions at the eleventh hour. But it seems Pakistani authorities are least interested in framing any solid policy to avoid such humiliation. The permission should only be given to any team when Indian authorities give a guarantee that visas would be awarded to players.
It is fact, Indian has a growing economy and its government is spending huge funds on the promotion of sports. On the contrary, Pakistani athletes of international repute face financial crunch. Our government is spending huge funds on the youth festivals where hardly any professional player takes part. But funds of billions are showering on non-professional players and organizers in such festivals.
Our professional athletes make desperate efforts to visit India to earn money, but they have to face embarrassment most of the time. It is time our government should provide financial assistance to national sports federations to organize mega sports events and invite foreign players as well.
The matter of the kabaddi team’s visa refusal should be a concern for the Punjab government since the Sports Board Punjab is patronizing the Lahore Lions team. For the sake of national pride, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should look into the affairs of the SBP and put it on a right track.
The main objective of the SBP is to organize events at under-14 level for boys and under-16 level for girls in districts to spot out fresh talent in different games.
The Lahore Eaglets U-19 cricket team is in a strong position to defend its title in the National Inter-Region final which is still in progress against Rawalpindi Rams in Mirpur, AJK.
On the penultimate day, Rams were in need of 161 runs to win with only three second innings wickets in hand. But on other side, the performances of both Lahore Lions and Lahore Eagles in the ongoing premier event of Quaid-i-Azam Trophy are pathetic.
In the Gold event, the Lahore Lions are trailing at the 11th place among 12-team contest as only Rawalpindi Rams are behind them.
Though departmental teams are mostly dominating in the trophy because of having more professional players in their sides, the performance of the Islamabad team should be an eye-opener for all regional teams. The Islamabad team stands at the second place which indeed is a big achievement.
The Lahore Lions are even behind Peshawar, Karachi Dolphins and Multan Tigers. Hopefully, the LCCA will issue new instructions to its team management to improve the performance because still a good number of matches are to be played.
In the Silver Plate event, the Eaglets are also at the fifth place among seven teams. But Hyderabad, a lowly-rated region, is well placed at the third place.
Since the departmental and regional teams are playing together this time, the chances for the latter to secure any prominent position are dimmed.
Last week, the Under-19 team of Afghanistan played three one-day matches against Pakistan. Surprisingly, Pakistan lost the series 2-1. The victory of Afghanistan is significant, since they are considered minnows in the international cricket.