Tennis Zimbabwe is making frantic efforts to take the country’s US-based number two player Takanyi Garanganga to Egypt ahead of a crucial Davis Cup Africa Zone Group III competition, which kicks off in Cairo tomorrow.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The top two teams out of nine will be promoted to the more lucrative Euro/Africa Group II for 2018 at the conclusion of the week-long event.
Zimbabwe, the highest ranked team in Egypt, are favourites for promotion and need all top players in order to boost their chances of progressing.
Four players namely, the Lock brothers — Benjamin and Courtney — Tadiwa Chinamo and top junior Mehluli Sibanda as well as non-playing captain Martin Dzuwa are in North Africa.
“We are in the process of getting Takanyi a visa and we have been facing some challenges. We are hoping that he joins the team before the competition starts because we really need him,” TZ president Martin Lock told Standardsport.
“If he makes it there, then it means we are outright favourites to win, but if he doesn’t, we have to bank on our youthful team to step up.”
Garanganga, ranked 440 in the world, last featured for Zimbabwe in an away match Group II match against Finland, losing the tie 4-1 in March last year.
However, Garanganga was not available for the relegation play-off in which a depleted Zimbabwe side lost 3-2 away to Georgia four months later.
In a situation where Garanganga eventually fails to make the trip, Martin remains confident that Zimbabwe will still excel.
“I am confident that the players we already have can do the job. We have got great players. Tadiwa has been doing very well at his university in Carlifornia and it will also be good exposure for Mehluli. Courtney is the second highest ranked doubles player in the country while Benjy is on top of his game currently and will be our key player,” he said.
Benjamin also known as Captain Courageous has been on song on the ITF professional circuit winning a number of tournaments this year and rising to a career best 342 singles ranking.
The team has been boosted by the return of Courtney who was out injured for a couple of months.
The Africa Group III competition will follow a round robin format with all the teams divided into two groups. The winner from each group will then square off with the runner-up from the other groups to determine which two teams are promoted to Europe/Africa Zone Group II in 2018.
Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zimbabwe.
Hammy while you can