August 2022 may seem a bit too distant to worry about preparations for a squash tournament, but officials at Alpha Squash Academy are not taking any chances and have already started taking their Under-16 girls through their paces ahead of the 2022 World Junior Championships.
The World Junior Championships that were scheduled to be hosted in Russia have since had a change of venue due to the on ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the host nation is expected to be announced soon.
In an exclusive interview with Voice Sport this week, Director of Squash at Alpha Squash Academy, Koketso Ntshebe, said he was confident of success at the Championships even though it will be the first time that a Squash national girl’s team will be competing at this high profile stage.
“It will be our first time with girls attending this auspicious event; we hope to do well even though it will be a learning curve for the girls as we are not going to put pressure on them. Moreover, for their training, we have scheduled tournaments locally and regionally every two weeks to prepare them mentally as they are still young and learning the sport,” he said.
Quizzed about how they secured a spot at the World Junior Championships, he said; “You qualify by being a member to the World Squash Federation, you choose whether you want to participate or not and we finally confirmed our availability this time around,” he said.
According to Ntshebe, they have not finalised the squad but have a few players that they will choose from. “The team has not been finalised yet, but we have a list of players we are working with, being; Angel Otshabeng, Leungo Katse, Neo Phatsima, Peo Gosalamang and Kakanyo Ntshebe,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ntshebe pleaded with local companies to come to their aid, financially, to make the dream a reality. “We can all do better with a little bit more help over longer periods, which Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) have been doing over the years and we appeal to other local entities to assist us well,” he said.