Collin Matiza Sports Editor
SCORES of talented young squash players are expected to converge at Belgravia Sports Club in Harare on November 30 and December 1 for the ninth anniversary celebrations of the Zimbabwe Education Squash Trust.
According to the director of the Zimbabwe Education Squash Trust, Mashumba Mukumba, preparations for this two-day event are already at an advanced stage.
Most parents have started entering their children for this tournament.
“The anniversary tournament is our annual celebration for achieving our goal of squash excellence with our juniors in Zimbabwe,” Mukumba said.
The trust first opened its academy’s doors in 2009 as a way of expanding the sport of squash and also in appreciation of the support obtained from the Belgravia Sports Club, club members, corporates and the public at large.
“The sport is regarded as elite and we are also the elite, that is why we are developing the sport,” Mukumba said.
“The children are coming from different parts of the country and basically they are school-going from: Arundel School, Chisipite, Celebration International School, Christian Brothers College, Churchill High School, Dominican Convent, Eaglesvale, Falcon College, Girls College, Hellenic School, Mabelreign Girls High, Peterhouse boys and girls schools, Prince Edward School, St George’s College and St John’s College.
“The above mentioned schools will also clash in the local school league in Mashonaland, Matabeleland and the Zimbabwe Junior Closed tournament.
“This is very interesting to see the level of play and commitment that both children and parents put into the sport. At this tournament there is an Under-23 category which caters for our pioneers of the academy.”
Squash has recorded rapid growth and popularity over the years and Mukumba also said that they still need to make it more popular since the courts, equipment and coaching are expensive.
“Popularity will also help us in getting support either from the Government or corporate sponsors. Our main focus is to fill in the gap left open by the outgoing boys and girls going out of the country for further studies and seeking greener pastures.
“There are very few girls playing this sport and we are trying our best to recruit the girls who will play in different age-groups in future.
“This is part of our participation in ‘Women in Sport’ programme.
“We are encouraging all those children who have written their Grade Seven exams to come and join us at the academy and that is good time for these children to pick up the sport.
“Zimbabwe in the past was well known for its competitiveness in squash and we want to return to that level.
“We are also appealing to sponsors who are interested to come on board to sponsor the academy with equipment and support us in staging tournaments.
“They are free to support in different ways, be it a once-off or long-term, it is most welcome,” Mukumba said.