The Sunday Mail
THE two best junior squash players in Zimbabwe share the same coach, and Ahmad Hassan admits that taking care of the pair has not been easy.
“It’s a difficult balancing act,” admits the 29-year-old who has been entrusted with nurturing the talents of Ethan Alfalfa Porter and Tayne Turnock.
Porter, who is in his final year at St George’s College, defended his Zimbabwe Juniors championship title after overcoming Turnock in Bulawayo recently.
Earlier, Turnock had gotten the better of Porter in the Mashonaland Closed Championship.
And whenever his players square up against each other, Hassan cannot pick a side.
“I never interfere if any of my boys are playing each other as that would create conflict,” he says. “In everything I do I try my best to be fair and so far everything has gone well.
“The rivalry is healthy, it helps bring the best out of each player. Ethan and Tayne are good for each other.”
Turnock says there are times when sharing a gaffer with his number one rival is unsettling.
“It’s not an ideal situation and at some point I do get to question the situation. However, at the end of the day Ahmed is my coach and I trust that he can bring out the very best in me.
“It is also important to appreciate that the bigger picture is me against the rest of the world, not Ethan,” says the 17-year-old Hellenic Academy pupil.
But Porter isn’t bothered.
“We share a coach but we are coached in a way that best suits our different styles. My style is very methodical but unorthodox, deceptive almost while Ethan has his own way of doing things,” he says.
Porter and Turnock are both in the national team expected to play in the World Junior Championships in India in June.
“My goal with this particular group is to get them into the top 150 in the world. It is ambitious but very possible. I believe they are capable of reaching the top 350 at present and we are working hard towards that dream,” says Hassan.