Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
TENNIS Zimbabwe will this week host a training camp for the Under-14 and 16 players who took part in the zonal qualifiers last month and those expected to represent the country in the Africa Junior championships set for March in an effort to improve the quality of the game.
The camp will be conducted by ITF development officer for Southern Region, Ryan Kruger, ITF Training Centre coach from South Africa, Dermot Sweeney, and Zimbabwe’s Freeman Nyamunokora.
The camp, organised by TZ and ITF, is scheduled to start tomorrow and will run up to Sunday with mostly those that qualified for the Under-14 and 16 AJC to be held next month in Pretoria, South Africa, taking part.
TZ administrator, Cliff Nhokwara, said Kruger is already in the country while Sweeney is expected to arrive this afternoon for the four-day training camp.
“We are targeting kids who went to the zonal competition and those who qualified for the Africa Junior Championships.
“We will also throw in a few who have the potential to represent Zimbabwe next year. We are targeting the Under-14s and Under-16s.
“We have programmes of training camps on our calendar, most of them are done by the locals but we have a few also being conducted by experts from outside the country.
And with this one coming ahead of the Africa Junior Championships, we decided to use external experts.
“We took advantage of Ryan’s stay in Zimbabwe. He came last Thursday for the play and stay coaching clinic, which was focusing on the Under-10s. He was training coaches on how to handle the Under-10s,” Nhokwara said.
Nhokwara said the camp starting tomorrow will address several issues including the basics.
“There are a lot of issues they will be handling including tactics, issues of techniques, fitness and psychology. Those are the core issues they will be dealing with.
“These are the players we are focusing on because they are the core of Zimbabwe’s future tennis development programmes.
“These are the top seeds and for us to have these experts to be able to work with them it’s a huge plus to their future tennis development.
“If you look at Dermot, he was working with the likes of Takanyi (Garanganga), Benjamin and Courtney (Lock) before, so bringing him here it’s a continuation of that exposure we need to give to our players.
“It’s also part of the preparations for the AJC. If we can go back to the era of Byron and Wayne (Black) we won the Africa Junior Championships. Previously it was combined with the Under-18s but now the Under-18 competition is held separately.
“But from our history we have done well with Byron, Wayne, Takanyi and Mbonisi Ndimande. Takanyi was an African Junior champion and at some point it was an all-Zimbabwean final.
“However, the crop we have now has not been very good in terms of winning, that is why we are bringing experts like these ones to help them out,” said Nhokwara.
Some of the players expected to participate in the training camp are Tanaka Chabata, Andrew Kunaka, Valentine Munyawiri, Beverly Matsiwe, Munashe Kaome and Nandi Munyulwa who are all Under-16s.
Under-14 players such as Anesu Kwirirai, Taona Muhwandagara, Vimbai Moyo, Tsitsi Mahere and Charlotte Zhuwakini are also part of the training camp.