8 March 2013

Zimbabwe: Davis Cup Team Named

TENNIS Zimbabwe yesterday named a familiar four-member team led by Takanyi Garanganga for the Davis Cup Africa Group III set for Cairo, Egypt, from May 13 to 18.

The tournament features 15 countries - Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

United States-based Garanganga, who is ranked 423rd in the world singles, is Zimbabwe's top player in a team that also includes Mark Fynn, Mbonisi Ndimande and Tinotenda Chanakira. Martin Dzuwa is the non playing captain.

The tournament will be played in a round robin format of four pools with the top nations in pools A and B drawn to play off against top nations in pools C and D.

The two winning countries will be promoted to Europe/Africa Zone Group II for 2014. Last year Zimbabwe missed out on the qualification after finishing third.

Tennis Zimbabwe convener of selectors, Tanya Chinamo, said they were expecting a tough competition for the locals since they will be playing on clay courts.

"It will be difficult because they will be playing on a surface they are not used to, the clay courts. And obviously other countries have strong teams," said Chinamo.

Local teams that have competed in the event have over the years been struggling to break into the Europe/Africa Zone Group II and Chinamo noted that lack of resources has been the major setback.

TZ vice-president, Regis Bhunu, said they were hoping to raise funds for the team to camp in the United States before they go to Egypt so that they can train together as a team.

"We are talking to one or two companies to get funding to have the team train together. We wanted people to meet in the States, at least, for a week," said Bhunu.

"There is a company which has showed a bit of interest to help. It's quite a lot, for training, the camp and playing and we need over US$20 000."

Despite the financial challenges stalking the national association, Bhunu expressed confidence in the team and said the country has good chances of qualifying for the Group II for next year. We have very high chances depending with the commitment of the people. The chances are there, last year we missed by one match, we were third," said Bhunu.

"They have the experience but the experience they don't have is cohesion. I think for a tennis player, every day of his life they play tennis so we expect them to have experience."

Zimbabwe's best performance in the Davis Cup was reaching the World Group for three consecutive years in 1998 to 2000.

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