World snooker champion Mohammad Asif is one of the many unsung heroes of Pakistan sports who fail to make their presence felt in a country that is completely obsessed with cricket, said a Pakistani daily.
Just when it seemed that nothing could go right for Pakistan, Mohammad Asif’s stunning title-winning triumph Sunday at the IBSF World Snooker Championship came as a timely reminder that all’s not lost for the country, said an editorial in the News International.
No one in Pakistan anticipated that he would go on to become the world champion. Asif began the championship as an underdog but proved to be the proverbial dark horse of the tournament as cruised into the final with eight victories on the trot.
The final that spanned over almost eight hours, Asif displayed nerves of steel on his way to a memorable 10-8 victory.
And Pakistan erupted in joy.
The daily said that Asif has become only the second Pakistani to win the world snooker title after Mohammad Yousuf, who bagged the crown 18 years ago in the 1994 World Championship in Johannesburg, South Africa.
"Asif’s is a true rags-to-riches story. This hard-working cueist comes from a humble background, has never had much training and isn’t even employed.
"In fact before his heroics in Sofia, Asif had been one of the many unsung heroes of Pakistan sports who somehow fail to make their presence felt in a country that is completely obsessed with cricket," it said.
The daily said that snooker has never been really able to attract much support from the public or private sectors.
"National snooker officials have to run from pillar to post to collect funds to send teams abroad to feature in international events like the World Snooker Championship. But Asif’s commendable achievement should prove be a game changer not just for the player but also for Pakistani snooker," it added.