Poncha: ‘Don’t know what happened to Achraf’

National squash coach Cyrus Poncha was not able to decipher or rather not willing to reveal why India’s foreign coach Achraf El Karargui spoke the way he did.

Achraf El Karargui’s contract was supposed to expire July end.   -  V. Ganesan

National squash coach Cyrus Poncha was not able to decipher or rather not willing to reveal why India’s foreign coach Achraf El Karargui spoke the way he did.

The coach had accused Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) of being unprofessional, among other things before putting in his papers on Monday, and speaking to Sportstar on Tuesday, Poncha said, “We have had the best relationship. So I don’t know what happened.”

Poncha admitted that it (Achraf’s resignation) will be a jolt to the team, which will be heading to Gold Coast, Australia, for the Commonwealth Games, scheduled from April 5 to 15, but argued that the players being professionals will be able to handle it.

“Definitely yes (it is a jolt). (But) all the players are professionals. We are sure we will carry on,” he said.

Poncha informed that the training camp will be held at the Indian Squash Academy here for a week for the Games. In the absence of Achraf, Poncha and Bhuvaneshwari Kumari will be the coaches for the Games.

When asked whether it will be a huge load on him, Poncha shot back. “I have been doing this for the last 17 years. (There is) absolutely no burden,” he said.

The 42-year-old said SRFI has sent the names of those who will be playing in the Games to the government and that it is waiting for the latter's nod. He couldn’t, however, say when the team will be announced.

Poncha claimed none from SRFI spoke to Achraf after the incident, and that the Egyptian had sent a mail to SRFI and the government informing them of his resignation. “Players have got a very good rapport with me and Bhuvaneshwari as well,” Poncha said.