Last week, the Tanzania Tennis Association (TTA) organised a tennis camp for youngsters in the country, which was run in concert with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) trainer, Fabrizio Calderone.
It appears that the camp was a glowing success as the coach revealed that he had spotted a number of precocious youngsters who could perhaps blossom into top stars at the highest level.
At this juncture, it is also important to lavish praise on the sponsors of the camp, Simba Cement, who have boldly and quite rightly decided to back the cause of tennis development in the country.
With regards to development, it seems that the TTA’s strategy to focus on the youth has already started paying dividends.
Indeed, our youngsters can hold their own against their counterparts from the region and the rest of Africa, which is a testament to the success of this strategy.
Having said all this though, there are still a few significant challenges facing local tennis at the moment.
One of these is the fact that there is a highly unsatisfactory number of tournaments for youths aged between 14 and 18.
This is truly depressing as this lack of championships has a telling impact on the development of these youths in our country.
Indeed, according to a TTA official, this status quo is arguably responsible for the fact that many of our gifted youngsters over the years have failed to become stars as adults.
It would therefore be advisable for the ITF to look into this, as it amounts to a vast waste of time and money to invest in the youth, only for them to turn to other sports due to the inadequate number of tournaments during a critical stage of their development.
Another key challenge facing the TTA is the fact that tennis is still a low-profile sport in the country.
Granted, although the body has already made some laudable efforts to promote the sport, perhaps these efforts need to be strengthened.
But let us end on the positive note, with which we began this discussion. Certainly, the fact that an ITF instructor has asserted that there is talent in the country, is something to celebrate and motivate us to work harder.
Lloyd Elipokea is a sports