Botswana Squash Rackets Association (BSRA) president Tiego Rabasha says the country has a lot of potential to produce good squash players to grow the sport locally. Speaking at the official opening ceremony of the 2015 All Africa U19 Junior Squash Championships this week Rabasha said hosting this big event will further boast BSRA ambitions to grow squash in Botswana.
Five African countries are battling it out in this continental championship held at Botswana Squash centre from the 31st March to 5th April in Gaborone. The five include Zimbabwe, South Africa, Egypt, Namibia and the hosts Botswana. According to the organisers Nigeria, Kenya and Zambia pulled out of the competition at the last minute. Botswana is represented by 19 players.
Rabasha said they decided to host the championships so that they can increase squash exposure to the nation of Botswana. He said for squash to start doing well the people need to know about it, hence hosting of the All Africa Junior Championships. “Our aim is to start attracting as many people to squash as possible so that they can appreciate the game and start supporting us,” he said.
Rabasha is, however, confident that the young local players will do very well at the competition since they have already shown potential in other competitions. He said a lot is going on behind the scenes to develop the players. “We have currently finalised our strategy on the development of squash countrywide and we believe it will go a long way to help improve players’ performance,” he narrated.
According to the president even though they are faced with challenges of finances and personnel, BSRA has committed to have a developmental program at all Squash courts countrywide. Squash have functional clubs in Francistown, Selebi Phikwe, Orapa, and Gaborone. However, there are clubs in other areas and Rabasha pointed that it is the aim of BSRA to revive these clubs and have a development programme for each of them.
“We are in a drive to develop the sport from grassroots in other to produce quality player,” said Rabasha. He explained that they are currently in the process of affiliating with Botswana Tertiary Students Sports Association (BOTESSA) to have the sport played in tertiary schools for continuity of development. The president is hopeful that squash will grow to highest in Botswana with the support of the corporate world.
When addressing the delegates the BNSC chairperson Solly Reikeletseng said has been worried that Botswana is still not doing well in some sporting codes. He called on all stakeholders to work together to improve performance of all sport codes locally. He said the BNSC will always support the sporting codes with hosting of events to expose athletes to international standards. “We must work together to prepare athletes for the future and push to sport as an alternative revenue,” he said.