… Bemoans lack of effort to attract more black players
By John Tuerijama
Namibian squash sensation, Max Endjala, who only took up the sport six years ago, and is now one of the country’s top players, says that little has been done to attract more black players to the sport.
In an interview with Confidente this week, Endjala, who turned 36 earlier this year, also bemoaned the lack of squash facilities in predominantly black communities, as the few squash venues are confined to the more affluent suburbs.
“My interest in squash started about six years ago, when my beloved wife introduced the sport to me, and that is when I felt in love with it,” said Endjala, who is ranked seventh in the country.
“To be honest with you, there are about seven black squash players; we have tried to introduce the sport at school level in the capital, but we have not been successful, because of a lack of funding,” Endjala said.
He added that the Namibian Squash Association (NSA) has done little, in terms of the promotion of squash in the economically disadvantaged communities.
He did not mince his words, when he said that little effort had been exhibited by the NSA, in terms of promoting the sport.
Endjala said that despite this snail’s pace approach by the NSA, Namibia has been able to compete at the annual South African Country District (SACD) competition.
He said Namibia fielded its top ten players at the SACD event, held in May, after successful local trials were held prior to the competition.
Despite the slow development of squash throughout the country, the Namibian team is expected to compete in the annual Jarvis and Kaplan Cups tournament, for women and men, scheduled for 10 July in Pretoria, South Africa.
“The level of squash at the Jarvis Kaplan Cups is extremely high, and thus the country will feature its top five squash players in that competition,” said the soft-spoken Endjala.
Describing the Jarvis and Kaplan Cups competition, the squash player said that the event organisers normally invite competitive and talented players, like current world number player, Karim Abdel Gawad from Egypt.
Gawad won the World Open Squash Championship in Cairo in 2016.
Endjala said that the Namibian team will also compete against world greats from England and Australia.
Although Endjala battles to balance his professional and sporting life, as his auditing job at Trustco Holdings keeps him very busy, he is committed to focusing on the sport, so that he can make the Pretoria trip next month.
Endjala is the Chief Operating Officer for International Forensic Investigation at Trustco Holdings.
“I normally train three times a week, but because of my workload, and other business commitments, I sometimes train twice a week,” he said.
Endjala, who trains with the Klein Windhoek Squash Club, said one of the positive attributes of squash is that it enhances anger management skills, and instils discipline in players.
He said that squash requires a high level of endurance and players must be super-fit. Although Endjala did not qualify to play in the 2016 World Masters in the United States of America, due to the fact that he had not turned 36 yet at that stage, the squash sensation will qualify for 2017 edition of the tournament, scheduled for Johannesburg later this year.
He said he also has his sights on competing at the Namibian Closed squash tournament in Walvis Bay later this month, while he also plans on competing in the Namibian Open, which is the country’s biggest squash event, which attracts top players from Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Endjala said that he wishes that squash can be introduced in schools, so it can compete with other sport codes like hockey, tennis and netball.
He also proposes that the NSA introduces the sport in all 14 regions, before adding that Namibians should come together to promote sport.
According to Forbes, squash is the healthiest sport in the world, based on a calculation using the physiological components of fitness, injury risk and energy expenditure.
Squash was found to be the healthiest sport, followed by rowing, rock climbing, swimming, cross country, skiing, basketball, cycling, running, modern pentathlon and boxing
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015