The Nelson Mandela University Squash Club are focused on maintaining the high standards they have sent when they defend their Eastern Province first league and super league titles next year.
With player-coach Jason le Roux, who was named Eastern Province player of the year in October, at the helm, the Madibaz men’s team have won six first-league titles and five super league crowns since 2012.
They have also shown constant improvement at the University Sport South Africa week and Le Roux said they would love to make an impact at this event.
“We are hosting the event next year and if we get some top players into our system we could have a chance of challenging for the title,” he said.
Competing with bigger universities in signing up young talent remained a challenge, but Le Roux said their success was having some spin-offs.
“There is definitely interest among local talent to join us and players from other varsities have also asked me if they could come to study at Nelson Mandela University.”
Le Roux ascribed their success to the pool of talent in Eastern Province and to the way the young players were managed.
“Adapting to change is also critical. One can never replace hard work, but each student brings different challenges. It’s about finding out how we can keep up the hard work in the face of new challenges each year.”
He said he also appreciated the enthusiasm of the students.
“They always come out at the start of the year excited and keen. It’s just a matter of keeping that going.”
Le Roux, who is also chairman of the squash club, said it gave him great satisfaction to see the players develop.
“When the Nelson Mandela University players are mentioned at USSA as having really improved, and when it is said they are the team who have the biggest heart, it makes me very proud and keeps me going for next year.”