Tanzania is expected to field three tennis players in next month’s 18 years and under Africa Junior Championship that gets underway in Johannesburg from February18.
The trio gained access into the tournament berth through wild card entries as none of them had qualified to play.
The Tanzania Tennis Association (TTA) secretary general, Inger Njau, named the players as Tumaini Martin, Goodluck Shelemo and John Njau.
She also said plans are on the pipeline to set up a training camp for the tennis trio so as to keep them in form ahead of the event.
“Our three players have secured a lifeline after International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Confederation of Africa Tennis (CAT) nominated them to compete at the forthcoming Africa Junior Championship to be held in South Africa,” she said.
According to ITF/CAT requirements, top two players from zonal championships automatically qualify for the 18 & under tourney, but the country players failed to qualify at the event held early this month in Bujumbura.
Njau also said currently all the players who will represent the country at the coming Africa Junior Championship (AJC) in Kenya in March this year are training at their own will.
Njau said TTA coffers are currently dry but efforts are being initiated to find something and keep the trio at a training camp as brief as possible.
Tanzania tennis team emerged runners-up at the East Africa ITF /CAT 14 and 16 & under Junior championship hosted by Burundi.
Seven countries took part in the tournament won by Burundi and Kenya came third overall.
In individual category, Kenya took gold and silver in the 16 & under girls’ event after Stephanie Mbaya defeated compatriot Sofia Gulam 6-3, 6-2 in the final. Diella Syori of Burundi finished third place beating Tanzanian Edna Mfinanga 6-4, 6-2.
The boys’ final was a battle between Tanzanian team-mates Martin Meshuko and Goodluck Mollel as the former finishing on top in straight sets of 6-2, 6-4.
Saidi Nkurunziza from Burundi was third placed while Mariam Mujawimana took gold in the girls 14 & under event, beating Tanzanian Burundi-based Georgina Kamhuia 6-1, 7-5.
Third-placed was Burundi’s Sada Nahimana as Rwanda’s Ernest Habiyambere was victorious in the boys’ event, defeating Tanzanian Emmanuel Mallya 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-4.
Burundi players were third-placed when Sheila Kotecha had to retire after trailing 6-4 giving up the bronze medal to Rajabu Ntamba.
In the girls’ 12 & under event, Sneha Kotecha from Kenya finished on top of the group of four players, winning all of her matches.
Abdul Shakur Kabura of Burundi won the boys’ event, beating team-mate Jonathan Mugisha 5-7, 6-2, 11-9. Kenyan Keean Shah was third.