Squash sensation faces bleak future


ZIMBABWE’s squash sensation Ryan Gwidzima’s stint in the United Kingdom where he is studying on a scholarship could be cut short due to foreign currency constraints.


Gwidzima could be returning home in a fortnight if the trust that has been taking care of his tuition and upkeep fails to secure £4 500 that is needed for next term’s school fees at Wycliffe College, where he enrolled at two months ago.

Barely three months in England at one of the best squash schools in the world, the Bulawayo-born Gwidzima (12), faces a bleak future in Europe even though there was a lot of promise, especially after he became the 2018 Under-13 Hungarian Junior Open boys champion on Sunday.

Former Education and Sports minister David Coltart, who is a member of the Ryan Gwidzima Trust which facilitated the squash prodigy’s educational expedition to Britain, yesterday said they have the money deposited in the local banks, but they cannot get authority to make a pound sterling (GBP) transfer to Wycliffe College.

“We cannot get foreign currency to pay for his (Gwidzima) school fees for next term. We have not been able to get authority from the banks to pay Wycliffe. We have the money here, but the banks say they cannot pay in pound sterling. So, Ryan faces being denied entry for next term which I think begins in two weeks. Ryan has the potential to be a world champion. I am not saying we don’t have good coaches in the country, but we took him to Wycliffe, which is a school with some of the best coaches in the world,” Coltart said.

He added: “Here we have one boy who could be an ambassador for the country and we face the danger of him returning home. We simply cannot get that authority from the banking sector to transfer his school fees. Our failure to find sufficient money to pay his school fee shows we have warped priorities as a country.”

Recently, central bank governor John Mangudya announced his monetary policy, directing local financial institutions to separate nostro FCAs from Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) FCAs.

The Ryan Gwidzima Trust is chaired by Bulawayo lawyer Promise Ncube and also has Michael Harvey, Coltart and Trevor Williams as members.

Gwidzima won his first European title on Sunday at Griff Squash & Fitness Club in Budapest, Hungary beating Antoni Jakubiec of Poland 3-0 in the final of under-13 Hungarian Junior Open.

Before that, Gwidzima won the England Squash North West Junior Boys under-13 boys title, beating the tournament’s first seed, Bailey Malik 3-0 in the final.