ZIMBABWEAN junior tennis players will be hoping for a successful start to the year when they take part in the 2015 edition of the Southern African Junior Championship in Gaborone, Botswana, from Friday to January 18.
The tournament which will feature young players in the Under-12, Under-14 and Under-16 age group categories will be used as the zonal qualifiers for the prestigious African Junior Championships (AJC) to be held in Tunisia in March.
Zimbabwe will be represented by a strong nine-member junior team which will be coached by local development coaches Munyaradzi Matema and Nomvelo Ngwenya.
In the boys section Zimbabwe will be represented by Tatenda Mutetwa and Taona Mhwandagara (Under-12), Valentine Munyaviri and Bret Hounsell (Under-14) and the duo of Mehluli Sibanda, Tanaka Chabata (Under-16).
Chelsea Dzenga, younger sister to rising young player Nicole will represent the country in girls Under-14 category with Nandi Munyulwa.
The pair of Beverly Matsiwe and Kimberly Kaome will compete in the girls’ Under-16 age group category.
Tennis Zimbabwe administrator Cliff Nhokwara said he was confident the young team would do well in Botswana.
“We are sending a very good team of young upcoming players. They have been doing very well in local tournaments and will this week have an opportunity to fine-tune their preparations during the New Winners tournament which got underway at Harare Sports Club today (yesterday),” he said.
The Zimbabwe team will be hoping to carry on from last year’s strong perfomance where they finished in second position behind regional powerhouses South Africa in the team trophy competition.
The team will be banking Mutetwa will be returning to the competition for the second time after reaching the finals of the boys’ Under-12 in his debut appearance last year.
Some of the countries excepted to feature at the regional qualifiers include the hosts, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland.
Under-12 Girls: Claire Machisa
Under-12 Boys: Tatenda Mtetwa, Taona Mhwandagara
Under-14 Girls: Chelsea Dzenga, Nandi Munyulwa
Under-14 Boys: Valentine Munyaviri, Bret Hounsell
Under-16 Girls: Beverly Matsiwe, Kimberly Kaome
Under -16 Boys – Mehluli Sibanda, Tanaka Chabata
Coaches: Munyaradzi Matema and Nomvelo Ngwenya