India's foreign squash coach resigns ahead of Commonwealth Games
Achraf El Karargui finally put in his papers today, bringing a premature end to his eventful tenure after developing serious differences with an "unprofessional" Squash Rackets Federation of India.
Published: 13th March 2018 01:56 AM | Last Updated: 13th March 2018 07:33 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: After all the confusion, Ashraf el Karagui, India’s foreign coach for squash, has called time on his eventful stint ahead of the Commonwealth Games in April. The Egyptian sent his resignation letter to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) via email. A week ago, national coach Cyrus Poncha had said that he is hoping to resolve the differences between the Egyptian and the Squash Rackets Federation of India and was hoping to have him back before the start of the quadrennial event Down Under.
In fact, when Express contacted Ashraf regarding the same a few days ago, it looked like the coach was planning to come back to India at least till the end of the Commonwealth Games.
“I am right now training Dipika (Pallikal) in Egypt,” he had said. But things escalated rather quickly.
“Yes, we have received his resignation, which means he will not be travelling with the team to the Commonwealth Games. There is not much we can do about it,” a SAI official was quoted as saying.
While he slammed the high-handed approach of the SRFI, events that happened before the Windy City Open from February 20-28 in Chicago actually led to a breakdown in relations between the Egyptian and the federation. Ashraf was supposed to go to Alexandria from Chicago after the tournament for two weeks and return on March 10. But they asked him to fly directly to Chennai after the tournament.
The Alexandria-based coach joined the Indian team in July 2016. Last year, his contract was extended till July 2019. But earlier this month, he had already made it clear that he won’t be able to work anymore with an ‘unprofessional’ national federation like the SRFI. The only doubt was whether he would stay on till the April 4-15 Commonwealth Games.
“The SRFI treated me unprofessionally and questioned my decision-making more often than not. You can’t expect anyone to operate as usual in such a scenario. I want to be there for the players at CWG but it is best for them to go ahead without me as there is too much distraction,’ an emotional Karargui had said earlier this week.
During his tenure, Joshna Chinappa won the Asian Championship title while three Indians had swept the U-19 category at the prestigious British Junior Open. The junior and senior players held the Egyptian in high regard and always praised him for his tactics.