TAKANYI Garanganga, the top-ranked US-based Zimbabwean professional tennis player, is expected to bounce back into the country’s Davis Cup team for the Africa Zone III tournament set for Egypt in April when the Tennis Zimbabwe selection committee convenes to select the team tomorrow.
The 22-year-old star was not part of the country’s Davis Cup team last year in Tunisia and his absence was strongly felt as Zimbabwe failed to secure promotion to the Euro-Africa Group II.
With three titles won on the ITF Pro-Circuit in a space of three months towards the end of last year, Garanganga is by far the country’s leading tennis player and his presence will be crucial to Zimbabwe’s hopes.
Garanganga has flourished under US-based Haitian coach Ronald Agénor, winning the Turkey Futures 35 and 36 titles in Belcontti, Turkey, in September last year and the 23rd Century Systems ITF Futures tourney on home soil in December.
He is expected to be joined in the squad by Florida-based Benjamin Lock and South Africa-based Mark Fynn, while US-based Mbonisi Ndimande is also tipped to make the team.
Zimbabwe, who have for the last four years been stuck in the lowest tier of the Davis Cup tennis group, will be hoping for better fortunes at the Africa Zone III tournament which takes place at the Smash Tennis Academy in Cairo, Egypt, from May 13-18.
The tourney will see Zimbabwe battle for one of two promotion places with Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, host Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday, Tennis Zimbabwe convener of selectors, Tanya Chinamo, said they would meet to select the team for this year as well as the team’s non-playing captain.
“The selection committee will be meeting to name the squad for the Davis Cup Africa Zone III tournament in Egypt.”
“We have decided to meet early so that the team has enough time to prepare for the very important tournament where we will be hoping to get promotion to Euro-Africa Group II. The selectors will also discuss the issue of the non-playing captain for the team who should also be named after the meeting,” Chinamo said.
Zimbabwe’s best performance in the Davis Cup was way back in 1998 when brothers Byron and Wayne Black led the team to the quarter-finals of the World Group before losing 3-2 to Italy.
The World Group is the highest rung in Davis Cup tennis.