Squash players posing for a group photo during the final day of the 2nd Brunei Squash League last Tuesday. BT/Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
A file photo of former national coach Muhammad Sattar. BT file
Local squash players hope to see a national coach installed in the near future.
With Brunei set to compete in three tournaments this year, the search for a coach becomes all the more imperative.
"This year we are looking to compete in a number of international tournaments, and I think this is the right time for us to get a coach," one of country's squash players Shavez Cheema told The Brunei Times in a recent interview.
"Squash is getting more popular in the country especially with the introduction of the Brunei Squash League for the past two years, so I hope the Department of Youth and Sports can help us with getting a coach," added Shavez who created history when he became the first Bruneian to reach the second round of the Petaling Jaya Squash Open in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in October.
The Sultanate brought in Muhammad Sattar as the national squash coach in 2009.
The Pakistani was tasked with managing the junior development programme and the training for the national squash team, but he left in July 2011 after the Department of Youth and Sports decided not to continue his contract.
Another national squash player Abang Muhd Huzairie Abang Ali echoed Shavez's sentiments.
"We need a real coach to help us progress in the sport," said Abang Muhd Huzairie, who finished 14th out of 64 players in the Division 1 category of the Singapore Squash Invitational Open 2013 in December
"We got the talent here in Brunei and we need a functioning organisation that can help us progress further, and it can start with getting a national coach," he added.
Prior to his departure, Muhammad Sattar praised Brunei's players and said they had plenty of potential - but they needed to be continously nurtured.
"They have a bright future ahead of them and I do hope that they can continue to work hard and bring good results for the country in future competitions," he said in a previous report in The Brunei Times.
"There is plenty of talent and they will have to continue to be nurtured.
"I believe that the squash players have managed to learn some things and improve," he said in the interview, adding it was "a dream to come to Brunei."
Brunei will be sending three players to Jakarta, Indonesia in May to compete at the Kijono Cup Open Squash Championship 2014, with the country also slated to enter the Malaysia Open in August in Sarawak and the Singapore Open at the end of the year.
Abang Huzairie will join Rosman Roslin and Hj Sufri Hj Abdul Hamid at the Kijono Cup which is set to take place from May 16-18 at the Gelora Bung Karno Squash Complex.
Shavez and Abang Huzairie were talking to The Brunei Times just a week after the 2nd Brunei Squash League concluded last Tuesday with the Hawks crowned champions.
The Hawks recorded 119 points in the five-team league table, with the National Stadium team following close behind with 98 points.
JIS Bulls ended the league on third with 91 points ahead of fourth-placed IPT Lions who recorded 88 points.
Meanwhile, the Army Team finished last with 67 points at the Squash Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
The tournament, which was sanctioned by the Brunei Racquet Squash Association, was co-organised by1stopbrunei.com and JIS to help develop young squash players and to promote the sport in the country.