Squash manager Linly de Beer said they were not underestimating any of their rivals.
“I think NMMU may be the dark horses. They have consistently upped their game over the past few years and have shown that with good coaching, commitment and team spirit anything is possible.”
De Beer acknowledged there would be some pressure on them to defend the title, but said their focus would be on sticking to their strong points and plans.
“We will play to our strengths and enjoy the squash. If every player does his or her best, nobody can be disappointed with the outcome.”
De Beer said good planning had ensured that they had the potential to emulate the 2015 side, despite losing several key players.
“Losing players is expected and planned for and those who have replaced them are of exceptional quality.”
He said they would approach the tournament from a team point of view where everyone needed to pull their weight.
Their preparations had not been adversely affected by exam commitments, said De Beer.
The players at this year’s Ussa tournament face a different challenge following the addition of an individual event alongside the traditional team competition.
Instead of playing two matches per day over the five days, players will contest the individual tournament over the first two and a half days, followed by the team event.
“This will increase the intensity of the tournament even further,” said De Beer.