As a follow up to my article, The Lord Ganesha of Zimbabwe Squash (squashdashersbashers.blogspot.com and dailysquashreports.com), I conducted this interview with my squash brother, Mr. Mashumba Mukumba…head coach and Executive Trustee and founder of The Zimbabwe Squash Academy.
SDB: When did you start playing squash?
MM: I started playing squash at the age of 21; I never had an
opportunity to play at junior level and assuming that if I had had a
chance I could have gone further. I eventually decide to give this opportunity to others since I was also inthe same “boat” during and after my childhood.
SDB: Why do you coach?
MM: I have discovered that there are so many opportunities if we do it in the right way. Someone from my academy must make it to the top and I will make surethe type of practice and coaching I offer differs and has a huge
impact to change things.
SDB: Who was and is the biggest influence in your life?
MM: It is my wife because she said to me one day "will you be the champion in squash?" and I told her not me but the future generation that I will coach will be. She insisted that I must teach most of the kids from the poor
background as mine, that's why I ended up forming an academy which is what we have today.
SDB: why would you encourage squash where there is so little money for professional players?
MM: I would encourage it because most of the kids here in Africa (Zimbabwe) canhave good pass in academics but will not be able to go to varsity
because of funds and whereas combining it with squash you can easily get your scholarship and advance with your studies. I recommend squash because there is less competition compared to any other popular sports, you have to be extremely good to qualify but in squash you just have to be good enough.
SDB: What do you hope to accomplish? World top 10 from your country?
MM: I hope to be the best in the region of Southern Africa and to have players who willqualify to get varsity scholarships and also play in the world squash PSA circuit.
SDB: What has been your lowest point in this? Your highest point in this?
MM: We have just started and the other problem that affects our
development is the political stability. Today investors are waiting
and tomorrow is no different – we will have to see as we move along. We use
to be the best in the region and we will be from juniors to seniors.
SDB: When you turn off the lights on court each day what crosses your mind?
MM: I come here every day and I must reap what I am sowing otherwise with my other fellows we are not helping me prove or make my dream true.