TZ shifts attention to youth . . . ZOC chip in with milestone sponsorship Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) yesterday announced a strong six-member team that will comprise four girls and two boys in the Under-14 tennis tournament in the West African country. 

Tinashe Kusema

YOUNG Kuzivaishe Chapepa carries the hopes of the nation as the 13-year-old is expected to lead a six-member team to Togo for the Africa Junior Championships next week. 

The South Africa-based tennis star is currently the number one ranked player in the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) and will be one of the country’s medal hopefuls.

Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) yesterday announced a strong six-member team that will comprise four girls and two boys in the Under-14 tennis tournament in the West African country. 

These include the girls’ quartet of Chapepa, Akeelah Khanye, Rufaro Ruwanza, Rutendo Tomu, and the boys’ duo of Noah Samushonga and Muchengeti Manzungu.

Much like he did during the recent CAT and International Tennis Federations (ITF) Southern African Junior and Team Championships, held in Namibia, Terrence Mazingaire is set to continue his duties as coach.

Speaking at the team announcement, TZ president Walter Jera was bursting with confidence as the team, as he puts it, appears to be very strong. 

Also, the tournament and Zimbabwe’s recent success as the Southern African Junior and Team Championship are the fruits of the association’s Junior Tennis Initiative.

“The Africa Junior Championship is the pinnacle of the Under-14 junior tennis on the continent, and provides an important platform for our players to test themselves against the best in the continent,” said Jera.

It is against this background that we are delighted to be sending such a strong and competent team. 

“This competition is an important part of the development pathway for the junior tennis players with the potential to become the next generation of tennis professionals for our country. 

“We believe by investing in junior tennis we are building a solid foundation for future success. 

“Our drive to identify, nurture, and develop tennis talent has seen Tennis Zimbabwe partnering with the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (ZOC) who have come in with a milestone sponsorship by providing airfares for the team. 

“Further, TZ has partnered with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in the implementation of the Junior Tennis Initiative in all the Tennis Provinces in a bid to broaden the sport,” he said. 

His sentiments were echoed by the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee’s chief executive officer, Marlene Chiedza Gadzirayi. 

“Youth sports development is at the core of our mission at the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee, as we believe in nurturing and empowering young talents to represent our country on the global stage,” said Gadzirayi.

“Our goal is to pave the way for these talented individuals to showcase their skills and bring pride to Zimbabwe. 

“As we look ahead to the Youth Olympics in 2026 in Dakar, we are dedicated to preparing our young talents for success and excellence. 

“By investing in their training, development, and participation in international competitions like the Africa Junior Championship, we are laying the foundation for a bright future for Zimbabwean sports,” she said. Gadzirayi went on to reveal how three top Zimbabwean junior players have been selected to attend a training pro-gram in Senegal later this year. 

“The excellence showcased by Sasha Chimedza, (Kuzivaishe) Chapepa, and Emmly George has opened doors to opportunities such as their selection to participate in the ITF African Regional Training Centre Programme for Tennis in Senegal,” she said. 

“This initiative reaffirms our dedication to equipping our athletes with the necessary resources to excel and compete at the highest levels. “The Zimbabwe Olympic Committee stands firm in its commitment to empowering our youth and shaping them into formidable representatives of our nation on the global sporting stage,” she said.

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