ITF instructor calls for investment in tennis in Tanzania, East Africa

27Nov 2017
Joseph Mchekadona
The Guardian
ITF instructor calls for investment in tennis in Tanzania, East Africa

INTERNATIONAL Tennis Federation (ITF) instructor, George Oketch, has called for investment in coaches training in in Tanzania and the rest of the East and Central Africa region, if the sport is to achieve progress in the region.

Dar es Salaam junior tennis player, Bertila Mbunda, trains at the Kijitonyama courts in the city recently. (Photo: Correspondent)

Oketch oversaw a 12-day regional beginners and intermediate level tennis coaches course which took place in Dar es Salaam last week.

The course, which was sponsored by Tanzania Olympics Committee (TOC) with funding front International Olympic Committee (IOC) through Olympic solidarity, brought together 22 coaches from Kenya, Comoro, Zimbabwe and hosts, Tanzania.

Speaking during the closing ceremony on Friday, Oketch said the sport has not achieved progress in the East and Central Africa as there are no serious investment in coaches.

Oketch was assisted by Tanzanian coach, Nicolaus Leringa, who is also the coordinator for domestic junior tennis development.

The ITF instructor challenged the course participants to use the knowledge they gained to develop the sport in their countries and share the expertise they learnt with fellow coaches, who were not lucky to attend the course.

Oketch said ITF aims at seeing to it the East and Central Africa region field tennis players in future Olympic games.

"Tennis in East and Central Africa is behind in many things, but let me assure you all that ITF is doing all it can to see to it that the sport is growing so that in the near future we can send our players to Olympic games," he disclosed.

"One of the things being done by ITF is organizing coaching courses and also the opening of development center in Kenya."

He further said tennis in the region is failing to develop rapidly as it is facing many challenges which include sponsorship competition with other sporting activities and people's perception that the sport is solely for the rich.

He challenged the participants to work hard so as to deal with the challenges for the growth of the game.

Tanzania Tennis Association (TTA) president, Dennis Makoi, hailed TOC and IOC for the course, saying it will help in improving the sport in the region.

He asked the participants to make use of the knowledge for the growth of tennis.

"This is the second time that we are having a coaches’ course organized by TOC, the first one was done many years ago," he revealed.

"I'm asking all who attended this course to make use of the knowledge to develop tennis not only in city centers but also in rular areas."

He also thanked Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club (DGC) for hosting the course.

TOC president, Gullam Rashid, assured TTA that the committee is ready to support tennis and all other 26 local sports association as the committee aims at seeing to it that the country is improving in sports in coaching, umpiring and administration.