Following the success of Paul Coll at the British Squash Open last week, New Zealand’s number three ranked player, Lwamba Chileshe is heading to the UK to take the next step in his career.
Ranked at 105 in the world Chileshe, 22 has had a good domestic season, albeit with a late interruption from Covid-19 delaying events, including the Oliver Sport NZ Champs which have been postponed twice already this year.
For Chileshe watching team mate Coll win the biggest title in the world last week was a huge boost for the sport, but also helped him make up his mind to leave for the competition, more tournaments and to further his career over the next 10 months overseas.
He has a flexible ticket depending on a number of factors and his success in the UK as to when he might return to New Zealand.
“Seeing Paul win was great, it was huge. It’s not fully confirmed yet, my return flight is set for May, but it depends on the Commonwealth Games team and other factors. It might be as early as April,” said the Waikato player who believes he has to make the move now.
“There are a number of things for leaving. Obviously the nationals been changed twice this year which is unfortunate. It’s the competition as well over there, a few top 20 players are around the UK plus players around the top 30-150 rankings as well. The main reason isn’t tournaments just the level of competition. The tournaments are stronger and harder but it’s just better hits and competition overall.”
Without doubt there are questions over travelling at present, however the fully vaccinated Chileshe wants to continue with his career progression.
“it is quite risky at the moment with Covid, I’ve done what I can getting my ranking up in New Zealand we were lucky with the tournaments which were probably a bit weaker without players from Hong Kong and elsewhere coming over, I definitely feel it’s the right move for my career right now. I’ll be based at the same flat as last year in Manchester at my sponsors flat. I’ll be training there and Sheffield this year and go from around the area. Joelle (King) is in Bristol, my brother and Joel Arscott will be heading over later this year too.”
Last week he was named to represent New Zealand at the world men’s teams championships in Malaysia in December. It was the second time he had been in the team after his debut in 2019. Other players in the team are Coll, national champion, Evan Williams and younger brother, 21-year-old Temwa.
“I’m not sure how Malaysia is doing Covid wise. Hopefully cleared up by then. Having Paul and Evan in the team, they’ve got experience and for my brother being there and learning off the top players live will be awesome.”
So far in 2021 Lwamba has won two PSA Challenger titles to his credit; Morrinsville and Northland while he was a being a beaten finalist at Howick and Panmure and to Williams at the NZ Champs last year.