JUNIOR tennis coach Linsent Chitiyo has expressed confidence in his team that is set to compete in the International Tennis Federation Southern African Junior championships. The team is scheduled to leave for Namibia today for the championships which will start on January 6 and end on January 12 with players from countries in the Southern African region expected to take part in the Under-16, Under-14 and Under-12 boys and girls age-groups.
The Zimbabwe team is made up of Alwyn Mushonga, Julius Mutetwa (boys Under-16), Nicole Dzenga, Keren Muswere (girls Under-16), Mehluli Sibanda, Batsirai Saurombe (boys Under-14), Karen Machisa, Kimberly Bhunu (girls Under-14), Tinashe Hwata, Valentine Munyawiri (boys Under-12s) and Annett Matumba (girls Under-12).
The winners at this tournament will progress to the African Junior Championships to be held in April in Kenya.
The Zimbabwean team is made up of players from Harare, Mutare and Bulawayo who have been training with different coaches from their bases and Chitiyo said they are geared up for the tournament in Namibia.
"I think so far we are in the right track. We have been liaising with coaches working with the kids in various stations.
"Some are still coming to verify their details but technically we have prepared for the tournament, even the players are quite enthusiastic to deliver their best," said Chitiyo.
He also said most of the players in the team have been to the championships before and he expect them to do well.
"Most of the players who are coming to play in the qualifiers are the same players who came for the zonal last year, so we are quite versed with the way they play.
"I think this time around the team we have is very good and we are confident they will deliver the goods.
"Alwyn Mushonga and Nicole Dzenga have been playing for the Zimbabwe team since they were 12 and they have the experience.
"They know all the guys that are going to be competing. Julius Mutetwa is going there for the second time and for those going for the first time we will be there to make sure they are well motivated to produce some good results," said.
Chitiyo said they have had an opportunity to see the players from Harare practising and they are happy with their level of play.
"We have been interacting with coaches in Bulawayo and Mutare that have been with some of the players and for those in Harare we have spent the last three days watching them practising and we evaluated on their strength and weaknesses and what we need to work on," said Chitiyo.
Chitiyo will be accompanying the team together with Miracle Matanga and they are expected to leave for Namibia this morning.