The Sunday News
Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
TENNIS Zimbabwe is set to send a 10-member team to the Confederation of African Tennis 18 and Under African Closed Junior Championships in Tunisia next month which will be led by top seeds Ethan Sibanda and Rufaro Magarira.
The invitational tourney will run from 18 to 24 July in Sousse. TZ selected the top five players, in the boys and girls section, according to rankings released on 14 June by the International Tennis Federation.
In the boys’ category Sibanda leads, followed by Taona Manager, Lyle Zaloumis, Bennedict Badza and Takura Mhwandagara. In the girls’ section, Magirira is at the top followed by Tadiwa Mauchi, Tanya Midzi, Chelsea Chakanyuka and Sasha Chimedza.
TZ administrator, Cliff Nhokwara said they have sent the invitations to the players and the players should be getting ready for the important event. He said they are happy the Sports and Recreation Commission has allowed them to get back in the courts and this will allow the players to prepare seamlessly for the event.
The tournament is rated as an International Tennis Federation B2 grade and it is by invitation only, featuring the top under-18s players in Africa.
Sibanda is hoping to get his passport before the end of this month which will allow him to travel after it expired last year and has been unable to get it due to the backlog and the Registrar General’s office.
The top seed missed several ITF tournaments in the region due to lack of a passport but was back in the courts last month when Bulawayo hosted two ITF 18 and under tournaments.
He managed to reach the final of the first leg but retired at the quarter-finals due to backache.
Sibanda’s father and coach, Tendai said the player is on the mend and they will be getting back full time to the courts to ensure he is ready for the event which is less than a month away.
Mauchi and Midzi will be hoping to use the experience they got at the Billy Jean King Cup which ended yesterday in Vilnius, Lithuania to improve their performances in at the AJCs.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe managed to beat Rwanda 3-0 on Friday in the promotional play-offs after winning only one match in their four-team pool at the women only team event. They were scheduled to play Kosovo yesterday in the final playoff.