Women leadership in Sport – Alouise Campher Maties Sport Squash Chairperson
A lifetime sport fanatic, Alouise Campher explains her journey through sport and how important it is to follow your dreams.
She began playing sport at the young age of nine years old. But when she was introduced to squash, she immediately fell in love. In her earlier days of life, she began playing netball, squash, and tennis, and she even took part in a South African folk sport, Jukskei. Once she started high school, she realised her passion for squash and decided to play the sport competitively.
Although her love for sport began at a young age, she credits her father for his influence on sports, he was the squash coach at Outeniqua High School in George, a town past Stellenbosch. She would often join the high school’s team tours, and got a glimpse of how it would be playing squash competitively, which then grew her love for the sport even more.
Her accomplishments include playing for the SA Schools Squash throughout her high school career and she also travelled overseas with the SA Schools Team. Squash may have taken her overseas, but it was her father that inspired her to one day become part of leadership in sport. Once she got to Stellenbosch University and joined the Squash club, she saw the opportunity for growth and she took it.
Her years of experience as an athlete, balancing studies and sport became such a norm to her, that she saw becoming the club chair as a challenge she was willing to take on.
“My main hope for the club is to cultivate a better relationship between the student committee and the management of Maties Sport, so that players can get rewarded more for all their effort and hard work while representing the university. I would like to see how there is more a sense of community between the players because since Covid, everyone got so distant from one another,” says Campher.
Campher is always looking for ways to improve the squash club, she is hoping more people will join the sport and enjoy it as much as she does.
One of her treasured memories as a leader of her sport code as being part of the development of building the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Squash team.
“Sharing a sense of community in our shared love for the sport was definitely one of my treasured moments as Maties chairperson and also arranging a fun doubles squash tournament to raise funds for our USSA tournament. It was just nice to get so much support from fellow team members and to see how everyone enjoyed the night,” she said.
She tells Maties Sport that all the admin work paid off, seeing everyone enjoying themselves and being excited for the upcoming USSA tournament next month July 7th.
“I am sure USSA is definitely going to be the highlight of my year,” Campher insists. The upcoming USSA Squash Tournament will take place in Makhanda at Rhodes University from 04-09 July 2022.
Although the focus is on preparing for the tournament, the club welcomes anyone who would like to join the squash club. The club is run by students who are willing to assist in the development of the players and the club. At the moment, the club is currently busy with two leagues, firstly being the Western Province league, which means they are playing matches in and around Stellenbosch against other clubs weekly, and secondly a residence league which different residences play against each other.
The squash club also has non-student players at the club that plays matches during the week, some social players play for fun and not competitively.
When asked if she has any words of encouragement to other women that aspire to be in leadership position at Maties sport clubs, she said: “Never be afraid to take on anything that your heart desires. If you never try to be in positions that are out of your comfort zone, you will never know how exceptional you can be in the field,” concludes Campher.