A number of Madibaz squash players have been included in the Eastern Province teams to take part in the annual Jarvis Kaplan Cup interprovincial tournament in Pretoria next month.
Player-coach Jason le Roux and Dwain Dodd have been selected for the men’s A side, Gershwin Forbes for the second stringers and Johan Thiel for the C team. Forbes will also do duty as reserve for the first-choice outfit.
Sarah O’Grady, Bianca Brown and Hayley Ward were named in the women’s A team.
“This is great for the club as we now have a significant footprint in the provincial league,” said Madibaz Sport squash manager Melissa Awu.
She attributed their high level of representation to hard work, dedication and the input of their experienced coach.
Awu said the men would be competing in the B section of the tournament, while the women would be in action in the A division.
Le Roux, who represented Border in the A section until switching allegiances this season, said the women would be facing a tough challenge after losing three top players to other provinces.
“It’s a young side and they will be up against international players as well as the cream of the crop from South Africa,” but he was confident that they would be able to handle themselves and, importantly, not get relegated.
Le Roux explained that there were six teams in the A section and that EP – who were fourth last year – had to place fifth or better to avoid relegation.
He said the men would be competing against five other teams in the B division and would need to place first to secure a spot in the men’s A section.
On a more personal note, he said he was looking forward to new beginnings.
“There are exciting times ahead. It is great being able to build relationships with the EP players, especially since my training mates are on the same team.”
The 34-year-old said the tournament would be a particularly tough assignment for the varsity players, who would be in action in the University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament the week before.
“They will have two weeks with lots of squash with only a two-day break in-between.”
Le Roux said the club’s success was largely due to the implementation of a talent retention plan, where they focused on getting youngsters in who were on top of their game and keeping them interested in the sport.