Consistency during a lengthy season was the key to NMMU-Madibaz winning the Eastern Province men’s first league squash title for the fifth straight year this month.
This is the view of team number one and player-coach Jason le Roux, who has been involved in a long period of success for Madibaz squash in which they also won the super league men’s title from 2012 to 2015.
“Winning the league is often about the most consistent team,” said the 33-year-old, who plays provincial squash for Border.
“We had some illnesses during the season and lost two players (Grant Greyling and Gregg Shean) at different stages.
“So, pulling players up and getting them to adapt to the pressure of first league was one of the challenges.”
Le Roux said Liam Ford, who moved up to first league as a permanent member for the duration of the second round, did well at number four.
Even though they had been champions for several seasons, he said their motivation was still there to aim for the title.
“It is always satisfying to win the league title. Every year is a new year and we don’t focus on the past or let the previous results dampen our enthusiasm.
“We set ourselves the goal to win the title and this year, in particular, we had a new team so we knew it would be a challenge.”
Le Roux and Ford were joined by the up and coming Brendan Bassett and Johan Thiel in the winning line-up.
“Our excitement grew when we realised we were in contention,” said Le Roux.
“It rubbed off on the two newbies (Ford and Bassett), who were really keen to lift the trophy.”
He said it was important for NMMU, who are sponsored by Brian Bands Sports and Nutritech, to perform well in the province’s challenging first league.
“Squash is very competitive and well-structured in the Eastern Province, so for a varsity team to win is a great achievement. It means a lot to the players and they put in a big effort.”
He said they had tried to create a culture of enjoying squash and that it would be important to continue that trend.
“I don’t believe it’s a specific programme that has been put in place, but rather a culture that has been created.
“Students have different time-tables and live far from the courts, so it can be challenging. But if you can make it fun and get them to the courts, you can build team spirit and implement training programmes.”
Le Roux said the university needed to persist with this aspect to ensure growth.
“When playing becomes fun and a good break from studying, the sport will grow.”
Members of the NMMU-Madibaz squash team which won the Eastern Province men’s first league are, from left, Brendan Bassett, Jason le Roux and Liam Ford. Johan Thiel was unavailable for the picture. Photo: Supplied
Issued by: Full Stop Communications