The country’s junior player, Naitoti Singo from Moshi-based Rafiki Foundation, managed to beat Rwandan Careen Nshimwe 2-1 in an entertaining final yesterday.
In the first set, Naitoti lost 6-4 but bounced back in the second set by overcoming the Rwandan 6-2 and in the third set, the former won 10-6.
Rafiki Foundation head coach, Charles Laizer, who was also one of the national team coaches, hailed Naitoti for the good performance and predicated that the young player has a bright future in the sport.
Laizer said Kanuti Alagwa, who on Wednesday lost to Kenyan Derick Aminde, yesterday took the fourth position in the U-16 boys’ singles after losing to Joseph Cyiza of Rwanda 6-3, 6-3.
He said he is happy that Naitoti managed to stick to what she was told before the game against Careen.
The coach said local players could not perform well at the event due to lack of experience. He said Kenya, for instance, hosts junior tennis tournaments every week while in Tanzania, the national tennis governing body hosts a tournament once in every six months.
He called upon Tanzania Tennis Association (TTA) to organize many competitions, as well as sending players to international tournaments outside the country, saying this will keep the players in great shape and ready for tournaments.
“I am happy that my player has performed well at the championship, our aim was to emerge champions but, due to many things which included experience, we could not make it, I think it is now time for the TTA to start organizing more events for our local players,” he said.
He disclosed that as of yesterday, five Tanzanians qualified for the Africa Junior Tennis Championship, which will be held in South Africa in May.
The coach mentioned the players as Alagwa, Esther Nankulange, Rashid Ramadhan, Naitoti and James Moses.
Inger Njau who is one of the tournament organizers, said despite missing out on the top honour, Tanzania juniors have performed well in the event.
“Naitoti and Caroline Mwangata, both from Moshi, reached the quarterfinals in girls’ doubles while Dar es Salaam-based James Moses and Glory Lyimo have also reached quarterfinals of U-14 boys’ and girls’ categories respectively," Inger disclosed.
"We have also Alagwa, who is in the U-16 boys’ quarterfinals, I think we are in the right direction and soon we will be a force to reckon with in Africa.”
The tournament, which is organized and sponsored by Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) and International Tennis Federation (ITF), ends on Tuesday next week.
Eight countries, namely Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Comoros, Seychelles, Sudan, Somalia and hosts Tanzania are competing at the tournament.