The Masvingo junior tennis team that did well at the Albert Nhamoyebonde Tournament held in February in Harare has been invited to compete at the Francistown Tennis Open slated for April 15 to 18 in Botswana.
By Nyambira Chivasa
At the Nhamoyebonde tournament, Masvingo scooped five gold medals and a tennis racket for their exploits as they emerged overall winners ahead of four other provincial teams.
Tennis starlet Tanatswa Tanyongana of Chikato Primary School walked away with gold in the green ball category and was the overall girls’ winner.
Leon Ndlovu — from the same school — scooped gold when he landed third place in the green ball category, with Tavonga Nyengerai of Kyle Preparatory School also winning gold in the red ball girls category.
Strive Bosha of Hellen Mcgee won in the Under-12 boys category, as did Chikato Primary School’s Antony Mazvimba who grabbed the winner in the green ball boys category.
Prince Madzore of Chikato emerged the most improved player and won a tennis racket.
The green and red categories are made up of children that are 10 years and below.
The Masvingo team has been handed a lifetime opportunity to compete in a regional tournament for the first time in their tennis careers.
Masvingo provincial coach, Samson Goodwell said he ran out of words to describe his happiness over the developments that have been happening since the team played in Harare.
“I am impressed with the physical and mental disposition of my team and I am confident we are going to maintain our first-class winning ways and bring home trophies and prizes. I was impressed by the performance of my players at last month’s tournament. I travelled with six players and all of them managed to win and that will act as a morale booster ahead of the Francistown tournament,” Goodwell said.
He, however, took a swipe at the Masvingo Tennis Board which has been failing to attract sponsorship.
“The Masvingo Tennis Board is failing to attract the much-needed sponsorship. I feel as a team, we are playing our part but the board is shortchanging us. So we are appealing for scholarships to help these kids realise their dreams in tennis, while at the same time fulfilling their academic aspirations,” he said.
Goodwell also lamented the pathetic state of affairs at Mucheke tennis courts and appealed to the local authority to give the facility a facelift.
“The conditions at Mucheke training grounds are appalling. There are no proper ablution facilities since there is no water and as such, the dressing rooms are in a pathetic state. Players — including girls — are forced to dress outside and the scenario is just nasty.”
Goodwell also said preparations for the April Arenel Tennis Open tournament, which were running concurrently with those of the Botswana tournament, were in full swing. He appealed for financial support in advance.
“We have also gone full throttle in preparation for the Arenel Tennis Open tournament slated for April in Harare at the Harare Sports Club and the preparations are running concurrently with the Francistown tournament preparations.”