Amukelani Zitha from the Egoli Squash programme in South Africa will be the first player to be given a place on the PSA Tour after receiving support from the PSA Foundation.
Egoli squash is a registered public benefit outreach programme of Central Gauteng Squash. They use the sport to curb the vicious cycle of poverty and crime for disadvantaged youth aged 8-18 years from the communities of Alexandra, Soweto and the inner-city.
The PSA Foundation provides a variety of support for the community programmes they work with from under-served backgrounds. One means is by providing a place to compete on the Professional Tour for a talented junior per programme.
The PSAF are delighted to announce that Zitha from the Egoli Squash programme in South Africa is the first to receive this support. The PSAF caught up with him about his experience competing for the first time as a registered Tour player.
Amukelani, congratulations on being the first person to receive the free PSA Foundation membership to compete on the PSA Tour – what does this opportunity mean to you?
“I feel very privileged to be the first recipient of the PSA Foundation membership. This opportunity will help me improve my squash and give me the platform to compete at a higher level.”
You now have the opportunity to compete on the PSA Tour – how excited are you to launch a career as a professional squash player?
How important has Egoli Squash been in terms of helping children affected by issues such as unemployment and crime?
You recently competed at the Prince Grand Prix – what was that experience like?
“It was a great experience, but tough playing against Christo Potgieter, who is ranked #2 in South Africa. “
You came fifth at that event – what were your expectations going into the tournament?
“I was very happy to be in the tournament and just wanted to play one match at a time so that I could gain as much experience as possible.”
And what tournaments are you most looking forward to playing?
“I’m looking forward to the Northerns and the Klerksdorp Closed Satellite events and then the other Satellite events in South Africa. By next year I want to get my ranking up so that I can get into the Tour 5 tournaments. Johannesburg Open, UCT Open and West Rand Open. Getting selected for the SA University team is a big goal for 2020. “
You train under Egoli Squash – how did you become involved with them?
“My cousin Dikana Mthombeni is a coach for the Egoli program. He introduced me to squash and through that I got a bursary to King Edward VII School, for squash. After doing well as a junior I got a bursary to the University of Johannesburg to continue my squash, while studying Sports Management.”
How much has your life changed since becoming involved with Egoli Squash?
“Without Egoli Squash I would have been playing soccer and probably would not have had the bursaries to King Edward for schooling and now for University.”
We’re delighted to support community squash programmes in this way, giving juniors the opportunity for a career on the Pro Tour who otherwise may not be able to.
Want to find out more about the work of Egoli Squash? Check out their website: https://www.egolisquash.co.za and a piece in the local media below: