Botswana Fails to Impress At Tennis Champs

| January 15, 2015

Botswana, the host of this year’s ITFCAT Southern African Junior Championships tennis tournament, did not do well in the first round of the tournament that started on January 10.

The tournament held at the National Tennis Centre in Gaborone attracted junior tennis players from 11 Southern African countries in the Under-16, 14 and 12 age categories.

In both singles of boys and girls across all categories, most of team Botswana players lost in the early rounds except three players who managed to go as far as the semis.

Among the trio was Thato Holmes who managed to scoop position four in the U-14 boy’s category. Holmes could not progress to the finals after losing 0-6, 0-6 against Joubert Klopper of South Africa. He then had to fight for the third place position against Noel Espitalier of Mauritius and lost 2-6, 4-6. The category was eventually won by Morgan Charl of South Africa after his teammate Klopper withdrew from the final match.

The two remaining Botswana players who went as far the semi-finals were Sekani Fichani and Leungo Monnayoo in the girls U-12 doubles category. They reached the semis after knocking out Niria Calunga and Ana Vasilis of Angola and Mozambique respectively in the quarterfinals.

However, the girls lost 1-6, 1-6 in the semis against the South African duo of Christine Kruger and Maria Mostert of South Africa.

In an interview, team Botswana coach Wellington Sibanda said the players tried all their best to put up a good performance but it was not meant to be. He said the players suffered early exits therefore they could only recover in the phase 2 of the tournament.

“Last time we had only 1 player who qualified but now we have set a target of 3 players” he said. He cited lack of tournaments and game time as a main contributor to the youngsters’ poor performance.

Sibanda also added that they were a match to their opponents but the only difference was that their opponents had more experience.

He said they aimed to improve their performance in the second leg which began yesterday (Jan 14). Sibanda said they still stand a chance to qualify for 2015 Africa Junior Championships that would be hosted by Morocco.

A lot was expected from a promising youngster Tshegofatso Tsiang who went as far as the quarterfinals. Botswana will be given a second chance to overturn the poor performance in the second round which started on Wednesday, January 14 and will end on Saturday, January 17.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Sports

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