11 May 2013

Zimbabwe: Tennis Team Optimistic

ZIMBABWE'S team for the Davis Cup Africa Group III qualifiers is now expected to be in Cairo, Egypt, today with playing captain Martin Dzuwa leading the four-man band. The nation will be represented by top player Takanyi Garanganga, Tinotenda Chanakira, Mark Fynn and Dzuwa. They will battle it out with players from Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia from Monday up to May 18.

Initially, the national association had wanted to have the team in Egypt early but due to difficulties encountered in securing visas for three players -- Dzuwa, Garanganga and Chanakira this week -- the team will only have two days to train together.

Tennis Zimbabwe administrator, Cliff Nhokwara, confirmed the developments yesterday.

"Martin is leaving tonight (yesterday) and Tino will be leaving tomorrow (from Spain). His visa is out and Takanyi is on his way.

"We have been seeded second behind Morocco because of old records and our participation history in the Davis Cup.

"It probably gives us a slight edge in that already teams coming under (us) are lowly ranked teams hence we should be able to, at least, reach the semi-finals.

"Also, strong teams would have been separated meaning they will not play number one, two or number four. Hopefully it should be easier," said Nhokwara.

Nhokwara said they were happy to have managed to send the team for the tournament.

"The most important thing is to fulfill the fixture. We have been able to fund the team to be in Egypt.

"There is a sponsor who has helped us with accommodation in Egypt and morale should be good," said Nhokwara.

Despite the delays, Dzuwa remained optimistic ahead of the tournament.

"I think everybody is getting there tomorrow (today). Mark is already there. Besides that everything has been going according to plan, everything has been sorted out. We have three days to work as a team.

"We have been seeded second meaning we have high chances," said Dzuwa.

The veteran player said he has been preparing for the event and is ready to lead the team.

"I have been working hard trying to keep fit but I think we really have young players, maybe I will come in when there is need maybe when a player needs to rest for a big match and in the doubles but I will keep the team as it is.

'We will see how we strategise and hope the players cooperate.

"I think my expectations are high, I would be happy if we win and qualify for the Europe/Africa Group Zone II," said Dzuwa.

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.

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