In light of the recent developments in sports, I felt that everyone should know whatâ€™s been happening and why the football team that recently went to Jamshoro is being bad mouthed.
The recent trip to Jamshoro wasnâ€™t my first for sports. I have participated in HEC events since I joined TIP and prior to this have played Basketball and Volleyball and managed to qualify for the HEC playoffs in Islamabad for Volleyball in 2004. We eventually never went to Islamamad for the playoffs. Why not; is a completely different story but in all I have represented the institute in HEC sports events on 7 occasions having gone all the way to Hyderabad four times.
The spring semester of 2004 was the first time that TIP participated in a number of sports organized by the HEC owing to the efforts of Mr. Ali Hafeez Azmat. I recall sitting at the City campus during my first semester break filling out forms for the players and making phone calls trying to convince students to take out a couple of days to participate for their institute.
We collected at city the city campus, eventually got hold of public transport and ambitiously embarked on our journey to Jamshoro knowing little of what lay ahead. We didnâ€™t have kits so we bought vests for 20 Rs. each from the local marketplace and wrote numbers on the back with a permanent marker and lined up with rock solid determination, feeling like supermen with our tight vests on top of mismatched T-shirts bearing Mehran universities yellow flag which matched colors of our own. And then in spite of feeling bare in a gym with well equipped teams and getting remarked by the Chief guest, â€œAap textile say hain to aap kay kapron ko kya hua?â€ We stepped into the court, played half a game and came back content that we had done what we were supposed to; taken the first step.
It is ironic that the freshmen that represented the team back then never set foot on the court again in spite of being good players? At times I feel that Iâ€™ve been the fool to repeatedly make futile efforts in hope that things will improve. Glancing back, they have; but there are certain things which happen along the way which make you feel that youâ€™re right back at square one.
My concept of sports has been simple. I enjoy sports. At TIP Iâ€™ve pursued sports in hope that weâ€™d one day have a sports culture where we would have teams developed with the talent, commitment and infrastructure to step out of TIP and win games rather than just participate. I have pleaded students to play, attended 4 people annual coaching sessions in the middle of Shah Faisal Colony, gone to coaching sessions where no one, even the coach didnâ€™t bother to show up nor respond on his cell phone.
As far as the recent tournament is concerned, from which the team is being indicted to have fled from, all the team has done is confirmed to trends from which they werenâ€™t given much of a choice to deviate from. To start with the players were told that the trip would last for 2 days and will be played on knockout basis. Some players were sacrificing important classes to participate and even though the students were granted a leave they could not have made up for the missed lectures. It must be noted that not all lectures can be easily skipped, some rare faculty actually teaches during their classes and students can not afford to miss out their lectures.
At the end of it all the team which as usual was sent to Jamshoro with an extremely uncertain mind set and no sense of direction, went, participated and returned in the usual manner which is always acquired. This year, in spite of having an extremely talented squad TIP lost to Liaqat National 4-1. It must be realized that no team under the given circumstances can be expected to perform well.
Regardless, for all those who have doubt Iâ€™m announcing loud and clear that the only reason we went all the way to Jamshoro was to ensure TIPâ€™s representation in the HEC games, which is exactly what we did. If we want to play any sport for the sheer fun of it there are ample opportunities available in Karachi. I must also clarify that neither do we need the Rs. 100/- we are given for a dayâ€™s breakfast, lunch and dinner. We can easily afford to pay for our own meals and we donâ€™t want any funding that only adds to the existing confusion leading to further uncertainty.
The sports coach, however, should be provided with some cash to recharge his cell phone credit as he placed most of his official TIP calls off student cell phones. There are numerous problems that the team faced and such matters need to be discussed with the concerned authorities so that a scheme may be devised according to which things function smoothly at TIPâ€™s end. This will help the students be better prepared for the surprises HEC has in store for them every year. If we are to see a change in TIPâ€™s sports performances such matters need to be sorted out, for which the team is willing to sit down and discuss things with the concerned authorities over a cup of tea.