KAMPALA- Uganda sent two boys’ and girls’ teams in both the under 14 and 16 categories for the ITF/CAT East African Junior Teams Championships that are currently running at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club in Tanzania.
After missing out on the last year’s edition, Uganda under coaches Daniel Ruyange and Patrick Luyinda will hope they return with a bang with the Africa Junior Championships in sight.
“We have seen great progress and in the future we hope to have more players qualifying for bigger events,” said coach Edward Odocken after a promising performance from team Uganda at another junior event in Nairobi.
Maggie Flavia Namaganda, Naomi Mbwali, Troy Zziwa and his brother Trevor Kazibwe were all in Nairobi last year when Odocken was impressed.
Of the four, three are part of the team off to Tanzania with only Mbwali missing out. Perhaps under Ruyange and Luyinda, what Odocken envisaged be achieved.
On the opening day, Shanitah Namagembe (walk over), Hanifah Mwehakyi (7-5, 6-2) beat Seychelles’ Bastienne Ashaelle and Winnie Birungi (6-0/6-2) beat Tanzania Mushi Aurelia to make the last eight in the U-16 girl’s category. In the U-14 boys’ field, Allan Otto (6-7/7-5/6-4) bt Carpe Jean Marc to join Troy Zziwa in the quarters after the latter had ousted Tanzania’s Ndosi Isaka ()3-6/6-2/6-3). It was disappointment form Maggie Flavia, Geofrey Ocen and Akram Nsubuga who suffered elimination early on.
In Tanzania, the tournament will have individuals compete for honors until Friday before they compete as teams starting on Saturday. Uganda continues to make remarkable leaps two years after re-admission into the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and it’s only a matter of time before everything falls in place. The endorsement of the Junior Tennis Initiative and the recently introduced wheelchair tennis are all feasible investments.