At 15, Musfiquh Kalam is Southern African region champion and for the first time, she will be competing with Africa’s heavyweights at the 2018 ITTF Africa Top 16 in Nairobi, Kenya come March 1 to 3.

A member of the South African team to the 2016 World Junior Championships held in Cape Town, has been in fine form in recent time and she has consistently sparkled on big stage in South Africa that since 2015 she has been SA singles champion at junior level.

With the experience she garnered in 2016 in the midst of future stars, Musfiquh Kalam is ready to face the stiff competition when the continent’s elite tournament serves off in Kenya.

“I feel overwhelming, excited and full of joy to qualify for the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup as a junior player. My target in Kenya is to make it to the quarterfinal stage.”

Winning the Southern African region title has boosted the confidence of the Trafalgar High School’s Musfiquh Kalam. “For me winning against senior top players mean a lot to me .It gave me more confidence to achieve more in the sport. I am more motivated that I can give senior players a game and win them.”

Like an ambitious youngster, she said: “Firstly I would like to reach the quarterfinal then thereafter I want to take it game-for-game.”

To be in top shape for the battle of Nairobi, she said: “My coach Graham Van As and I are working hard and preparing very well for this competition mentally and physically.”

Apart from the excitement of representing South Africa at big stage, Musfiquh Kalam rules playing under pressure. “I am not going to be playing under any pressure because as a junior I have nothing to lose and I will make my country proud.”

She however, yearns for more exposure to be able to rub shoulders with the best in the continent. “We don’t receive enough international exposure and competition to improve our game. I believe with more exposure, we can be at par with the best in Africa.”