EPSDP’s mission is to promote the development of squash in the under-resourced areas of Port Elizabeth, in particular in the Township areas of PE. This Programme has supported 100’s of young players over the years and given them so much enjoyment as well as hope for the future.

The mission is achieved in four main ways:

  • Identifying young keen talent to start the game of squash in under privileged areas.
  • Building coaching capacity and teacher support in the Township Schools
  • Conducting “special” projects such as “Women in Sport”.
  • Gaining support and commitment from Squash Clubs to include Post-School players in their structures
  • Providing coaching and organising participation in leagues, tournaments, camps and other events that promote excellence in squash as well as community building and lifeskills.

The Eastern Province Squash Development Programme (EPSDP) is within the auspices of the EP Squash Union which falls under SA Squash. The EP Squash Union is responsible for the administration and support of all squash activities in the Eastern Province, including the EPSDP.

In the document the EPSDP will be referred to as” the programme”.


The Programme in fact has very deep roots and was initiated in 1979 following a request from SA Women’sSquash Association to promote multi-racial squash from grass roots level.  Provinces were also requested by SA Squash to start squash development programmes in the late 1980’s.  At the time Mrs. Angela Difford was the Eastern Province Regional coach and she provided the inspiration and leadership for the development programme which has been running for more than 3 decades.

In about 2006 a post-school programme was initiated andWestview Squash Club, in particular, and Crusaders Squash club included players from the school’s development programme in various league teams which contributed a great deal to the development and progress of these players.  Since 2010 Old Grey Squash Club has provided for the continuity and further development of players who have graduated from the School’s programme.

  • The School’s Programme

This programme is run essentially in the townships and is coordinated by Mrs. Angela Difford. As there are no adequate courts in the townships,theEast Cape Training Centre squash courts inKwazakele are used. .  Mrs Difford is assisted by teachers in these areas and coaching clinics are run weekly.  The School’s Programme has been active for at least 25 years.

  • School’s league

Development players who have reached a certain standard participate in the Port Elizabeth School’s league which is run every Friday afternoon. Development players compete with and against schools in the PE area.

  • Men’s League

For the past 10 years development players that have done well in the school’s league and been selected for EP Schools have participated in the EP Senior men’s league.  Over the years various clubs have included and supported these players.

  • Old Grey Squash Development Project

This project was initiated in 2010 by the Old Grey Squash Club in a response to a need to accommodate more promising players who were performing well in the School’s Programme.  This project provided for the necessary continuity from the grassroots school’s programme to the School’s league and then to the Men’s senior leagues.  Through this programme the coaching opportunities for school players and players out of school was expanded.

ThePost-School programme now has 14 players playing in the Men’s League and one female in the Women’s league.   The players are involved in first, second, third and fourth leagues.  The first 4 players to be part of the Old Grey Project started in 7th league in 2010.

  • Special Projects

For the second year, programmes have been offered that specifically promote the participation of women I squash.


The School’s Programme is designed to benefit under-resourced communities in Port Elizabeth as a whole and in particular the townships areas around Port Elizabeth.  Schools volunteer to be part of the programme and nominate teachers to attend coaching courses.  It is essential to get commitment from schools and the staff before coaching courses can be introduced to the children.It is essentially the dedication of the teachers and the enthusiasm and commitment of the players that sustain the school’s programme with Mrs Difford and her team continuing to provide ongoing coaching, support and encouragement.

Presently there are approximately 90 children participating in the School’s Programme receiving weekly coaching and support.

For the Post-School/Old Grey Programme players who have shown promise at the school level  and are ready to play in the senior leagues attend coaching and mentoring sessions at Old Grey Squash Club.  These players are then entered into league teams appropriate to their playing level.

Presently there are 15 players participating in the EP Men’s and Women’s senior leagues in Port Elizabeth.

In Outreach Projects such as the ‘Women in Sport” more than 30 participants are benefitting.


The benefits of participation in sport.

  • Transferable Lifeskills

Squash is a game that requires dedication and commitment from the players.  It is intellectually as well as physically demanding.  It teaches discipline and good sportsmanship and players grow in confidence and self-esteem. Apart from also having fun playing the game, players learn concentration, coordination and competition. Players mix with people from different language and cultural backgrounds. Squash is not only an individual sport but also a team sport where players learn to work as a team and support their team members. Players also get an opportunity to represent their province at school and at senior level where they have exposure to travelling to different parts of South Africa. These are all transferable skills and attitudes that benefit the development players not only in squash but in their lives in general.

  • Employment

Some development players have gained employment through exposure to playing in leagues and the relationships they have made through the programme. One of the players is busy going through a mentorship at a company in PE.Senior Development players have been employed as coaches and assist in training of the younger players in and around the province.  By qualifying the senior players as coaches, the program enables them to obtain jobs as coaches.

  • Further Studies

The players have received counselling and guidance and some are studying at Colleges.  SivuyileBadi is the first player to graduate with an NCV in Hospitality from PE College and is doing in-service training at a prominent restaurant in PE. Three other players are doing technical studies at FET Colleges

  • Building relationships and appreciation for diversity.

A significant benefit is the contribution that the programme makes to the building of relationships between players from different cultural, language and social backgrounds.   The development players participate in leagues and clinics that previously were attended by whites only.  In the school and post-school programmes the development players have no doubt contributed to the breaking down of stereotypes and prejudice in our PE Community.

  • Women in Sport

There is a great need in the community to empower women by providing more opportunities to participate in sport.  In this regard two “Women in Sport” Projects were organised in February and March 2016.. Both days combined coaching for ladies which included teachers from township schools in Zwide, and a few former EP players from township school.The second project included ladies from the clubs in PE playing in lower leagues as well as selected players from the teachers and players in the township schools.  Both events were greeted with great enthusiasm and highlight a pressing need for more opportunities for female players and the provision of suitable facilities in our townships This was a real “Rainbow Nation” event!

On the left – two of the winners with Angela Difford

On the right –  women having fun and learning the game!

Women in Sport Project – growing the game of squash!

Building Hope and Optimism

These players come from families that live in tough circumstances and their exposure to squash presents them with opportunities to develop themselves personally and in their careers.  The players in the post-school programme have spoken about being in situations of no hope for the future.  Their participation in squash and particularly in the leagues has helped them to grow in confidence and to be comfortable in social situations.  We have received messages from opposition players complimenting the development guys on their talent as well as on their court etiquette and sportsmanship.  The fact that the players are also making progress towards being qualified in careers will have enormous benefits for themselves and their families.

  • Development Players making their mark

A number of development players have been involved in attending coaching courses over the past two years.   For the second year Yanga Manxeba has been appointed to manage some of the under 13 teams at the IPT that is being held in Port Elizabeth this year.. He also continues to serve as an Assistant coach to Mrs. Difford at Grey Junior School where it seems he is doing an excellent job.  Yanga was one of the original development players when the Old Grey Project was initiated in 2010.

Picture on the left: Yanga on the right with the players who were selected to represent EP at the various IPT this year

Picture on the right: MthikaziMakhanda the EP Schools girls under 11 Champion for 2016 with her parents.

In summary the players need to have resilience in overcome obstacles on a daily basis to participate in the programme. It is remarkable that so many have achieved so much in their squash.


From as early as 1991 primary and secondary schools from the township and Northern areas were part of the programme and participating in the PE school’s league programme.  By 1994 the first Black player represented Eastern Province in the Inter-Provincial tournament.  Development players have since represented EP at all levels from under 11 to EP Senior team.

There is a strong, well established league system for Schools controlled by the EP Schools Association for Primary and High Schools.  Post School players as well as school players with good potential participate in senior leagues organised by the EP Squash Union where they are included depending on their performance and strength level.  Training squads are held for players representing Eastern Province at the School’s tournaments and IPTs whilesenior players are catered for in the same way.

Coaching is a critical component in the development of the players and so is exposing players to coaching courses.  The senior league players have professional coaching every Monday evening and Saturday mornings.

On left: Learning to coach with Alan Stapleton

On the right:  Coaching session with Coach Ed.

Achievements and awards of some of the development players are provided in 6 below.


In the School’s programme participants are involved in EP school leagues at both junior and senior school level.  The development players participate in development clinics/tournaments and EP age group tournaments/trials.  At the age group tournaments the players are ranked and selected for the EP age group teams which participate in the annual School’s Inter-Provincial Tournament.   Some development players are also entered into SA Squash tournaments where they have an opportunity to be nationally ranked. The high performing school’s players are also included in EP Senior leagues

Regarding the Post-School Programmeit has been expanded to include promising players who are still in High School. These players participate in the EP Senior leagues, in the EP Closed tournament and other tournaments that are organised by the various clubs in Port Elizabeth.  This year the players have participated in the EP Closed and the Westview, Crusaders and NMMU Open.  Players in 1st league teams who are performing well are invited to EP training camps in preparation for the Jarvis Cup which is the Senior Inter-Provincial Squash Tournament.

Highlights of Achievements of the Development Programme and Individual Players

In 2016 we have seen a dramatic improvement in the performance of the players both in Provincial and National tournament.  The achievements of the players are highlighted below:

Gershwin Forbes

Gershwin is in Grade 12 and is presently playing 1st league in the Men’s Senior Leagues in PE and has won all matches so far this year He played in the EP Closed and Crusaders Tournaments where he beat current EP Senior players.  This resulted in his selection for the EP Senior B team that will participate in the Senior Inter-Provincial tournament in Pietermaritzburg in July.

Gershwin is in the top 10 in the National rankings for under 19 players and is presently playing in the under 19 IPT in Stellenbosch.


Siphelele is currently ranked no. 4 in the National under 16 rankings and is on a shortlist of players to be selected to represent South Africa at various international tournaments in Malaysia in August this year.  He is ranked no. 2 in Eastern Province and is presently representing EP at the National under 16 tournament in Pretoria..  He plays in the 2nd league in the EP Senior leagues and has lost only one match this season.

Keanu Langford

Keanu is in his second year in the programme and is the current EP Schools under 19 champion.  He is still in Grade 11 so this was a great achievement.  He is ranked no. 16 in SA in the under 19 section and is presently representing EP under 19 at the National championships in Stellenbosch.

In 2015 Keanu was selected to represent South Africa at International Squash Tournaments in Malaysia

Keanu and Gershwin  – members of the EP under 19 team that won gold at the under 19 IPT in Stellenbosch in 2016 !  Hot off the press !


Bonakele has been selected to represent EP A in the National Senior Championships in Pietermaritzburg in July.  He is the current Old Grey squash champion and has represented EP for the past 5 years.  He has now been selected to play  in the EP A side for the first time.  Bonakele is also a leader, coach and mentor for the younger players in the programme.


Thami is the first player to come through the school development programme and represent EP at the senior level.  He is still playing 1st league and representing EP at the Senior Inter-Provincial Tournament.  He is a leader, coach and mentor to younger players in the development programme.

Bonakele, Lonwabo and Thami who have all graduated from the Schools Programme to represent their Province at the highest level.  All three of these players are or have been Club Champions at their respective clubs.

Eastern Province Senior Leagues.

In 2016 players in the various leagues are as follows::

1st league – 6 players –  BonakeleNomkala, ThamiMngcete, ThandoNcamani, Brinley Forbes, Gershwin Forbes and Keanu Langford.

2nd league – 3 players – SipheleleMpini, AwonkeMdana and Zama Galada.

3rd league – – 4 players Yanga Manxeba, LukhanyoHlobo, LubabaloMtotoyi and SivuyileBadi.

4thleague – 2 players – ZiziphoMngwozono and LonwaboMngeyana.

In the ladies 2nd league we have SiyamthandaHloyi

On the left: Jacques, Bona and Thami who are winning the 1st league at this stage

On the right: 3rd league playersLukhanyo, Lubabalo, Martin and Yanga.who are winning the league at the half-way stage.


From an administrative perspective Mrs. Angela Difford has provided the vision and continuity for the schools programme from the early 1980’s. She has been recognised by SA Squash for her contribution to squash and particularly the development of squash in under-resourced areas.  She is supported by the EP School’s Association and the EP Squash Union who have provided moral and financial support over the years.  Mrs. Difford is also supported, particularly with coaching, by a few development players who have graduated from the School’s Programme and are now involved in the Post School Programme.

As indicated above ThamiMngcete and BonakeleNomkalahave  graduated from the Schools programme and are now mentors and role models to the younger players. They provide inspiration and motivation and the younger players are performing at a high level as indicated above.

Yanga Manxeba is providing leadership as manager of EP under 13 teams that include development players.  He is also captain of his league team and provides coaching to beginners.

For the Post School programme the Old Grey Squash Committee have been committed to including development players in the EP Senior leagues and supporting the players to participate in leagues, local tournaments as well as in the annual Inter-Provincial tournament.Since 2010,Dr. Darryl Smith has coordinated the programme on behalf of Old Grey and the EP Squash Union and provided for the mentoring, career guidance and life skill’s coaching for the players.


Access to Facilities and Transport

On the 19 May 2016 a request to allow development players to use the courts after 16:30 at ETC was turned down by ETC management.. Presently these are the only suitable courts that township players have reasonable access to.  More schools are requesting to join the programme but courts are already crowded.  Schools in the township are welcome to use Club courts in PE but this presents major transport challengesfrom a logistics and funding perspective.

The lack of funding for transport is putting the school’s league and coaching programme in jeopardy as all matches involving development teams are scheduled for the two courts in the township which leads to overcrowding and the development players do not getsufficient exposure to other facilities in Port Elizabeth.

Funding for Inter-Provincial tournaments

When development players are selected for EP School’s a tremendous financial burden is placed on the EP School’s Association.  In 2015 they had to find R 45000.00 to support the 8 development players with kit, transport and accommodation so that they could participate in the Inter-Provincial School’s tournament. This year 10 development players were selected for IPT in the various provinces with the cost closer to R 60 000.00.  Fortunately an allocation of Lotto funding helped to get these players to the tournaments.

This Programme has identified exceptionally talented players over the years but it has been a major challenge to support these players so that they can achieve their full potential.It is generally accepted that for squash players to develop, at least three training sessions per week are required.  One could therefore summarize the challenges in terms of access, in particular, access to suitable transport and to court facilities.

To deal with the problems coaches and teachers use their own transport where possible as well as public transport which is not always reliable?Development players are brought into PE and use PE club courts when possible. An allocation from the National Lottery Board has assisted a great deal with the provision of squash equipment and squash attire including squash shoes.

At times the obstacles almost seemed insurmountable but teachers and children enjoy the game and the opportunities it provides and they do not want to give up and plead that the programme continues.

Availability of top coaches 

For the School’s Programme Mrs. Angela Difford has provided for the bulk of the coaching of coaches as well as the coaching of the players.  She has done this largely on a voluntary basis which is not sustainable into the future.  What is required going forward is a team of coaches and mentors to support the School’s programme as well as the Post-School Programme. In this regard development players and others are being trained as coaches.


In the 1990’s the Programme was boosted when SA Squash made funds available to kick start the Programme.The E.P. Squash Union budget on an annual basis to support the programme.SA Squash have also provided funding support for the programme.  The E.P. School’s Association accumulates funding from school tournaments as well as from ad hoc donations.  These funds are also used to support the Development Programme which has been in a very vulnerable financial situation on many occasions over the years to the extent that development teams have had to withdraw from the leagues.  As more development players gain selection for EP teams, the financial resources get even more depleted as EP Schools must find the money to support these players.

Recently the Programme has been recognised by the National Lottery Board and an amount of R 250000.00 was allocated to the EP Squash Union.  This funding was depleted in April 2015. The Old Grey Development Project was allocated R 141 000.00 for operational costs in December 2015 and this allocation has funded much of the schools and post- school programme in 2016.


The EP Squash Union has a management committee that includes a Treasurer who is mandated to manage and account for all income and expenditure on behalf of the Union.  The same applies to EP Schools Association who is also governed by a constitution and run by an elected committee with a designated Treasurer to manage and account for all income and expenditure.

The bank details are as follows:  Eastern Province Squash Union – ABSA Bank, Newton Park – Branch code 632005  – account no. 4056727026


Registration as a Public Benefit Organisation

The EP Squash Union under which the EPSDP falls has had a long struggle with keeping the Programme active and viable.  The benefits of registering as PBO include:

  • Enforces good governance through reporting to SARS
  • Significantly improve fund raising as a PBO can issue Section 18a TAX certificates to donors
  • Donating to registered PBO’s also give corporate BEE points in the Social Responsibility category
  • The National Lottery may also look more favourably towards PBO’s when issuing funding because of the legitimacy of a PBO as opposed to an organisation or Programme
  • With PBO status and adequate funding we would want to :
    • Qualify senior players as coaches and referees
    • Employ coaches and administrators
    • Employ senior development players as coaches for the schools development programme where presently there is no succession plan.
    • Include mentoring and tutoring with young development players and assist senior players with studies at Colleges and University.

Squash Complex in the Township areas of Port Elizabeth

Presently the programme in limited by the number of squash courts available in the township areas so the building of at least one complex with 4 courts is of vital importance.  Eastern Province Squash Union will need to negotiate with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in this regard.  There will also be an attempt to improve the facilities at the Lillian Ngoyi Complex which is ideally situated but inadequately constructed and resourced.

  • Outdoor squash courts

There are plans to investigate the building outdoor courts in the Townships.  These courts will largely be brick and cement structures without a roof or wooden floor  and will be used to attract players to the game and identify talent.  These structures will be relatively inexpensive to build.  We would hope to attract sponsors who could advertise on the outside walls of these courts.  However, it must be emphasised that this initiative would in no way replace the building of a squash complex.

Engage more clubs in PE to provide squash court facilities

Although presenting logistical and funding problems, EPSDP will need to engage more clubs in Port Elizabeth to provide court facilities for the programme. Ideally we would want our squash clubs in PE  to “adopt” players/teams and include them in their structures.

Expand Post-School Programme into a Squash Academy

Apart from bringing more players into the Post-School Programme it is also envisaged to expand the Post-School programme into a Squash Academy.  We have made a start in this regard by holding a weekend programme on the 2 and 3 April that included development players as well as players from schools in the area.  The Academy would include more specialized training and coaching clinics/camps and an expanded mentoring programme that will deal with squash development as well as personal development of the players.  The Academy will include players who have left High School as well as promising players who are in the School’s programme


The Programme has been recognised by the National Lotteries Commission who provides some funding which has allowed the programme to continue to meet its objectives.  The players have gained National recognition as indicated above. Further awards include:

BonakeleNomkala – EP Sportsmanship Award and SA Squash Award for progress in squash

LonwaboSigele – EP Most Improved Player Award 2007

ThandoNcamani EP Most Improved Player Award 2013