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Junior tennis squad off to South Africa

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A 12-member junior tennis squad left Thursday, by road, to compete in the CAT Southern Africa Junior tennis championship in Pretoria, South Africa.

The competition is expected to start tomorrow and the Malawi team is expected back home on January 19.

Lawn Tennis Association of Malawi technical director, Thompson Mtengula and national junior tenni s coordinator, Hackson Methiwa have accompanied the tennis athletes.

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Player-of-the-moment Ramesh Banda has been included in the squad that consists of Under-12, 14 and 16 players in both girls’ and boys’ sections.

In Under-12, the team has Austin Phiri, Golden Kamanga (boys), whereas Atupele Kadanja and Diana Nyirenda complete the girls’ section.

Ramesh is leading the Under-14 which comprises Sekelani Makuluni, Mwayiwathu Kadammanja and Linda Msiska.

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Dereck Gamula, Kelvin Kachepa, Zione Nkhoma and Gloria Christopher complete the Under-16 category.

Mtengula said they were confident that the team would win medals in South Africa.

“We have exciting talent especially in the Under-12 and 14 sections. We know the youngsters are prepared to put up a spirited performance and win medals for themselves. If we can keep these players for the next three years, then they will dominate tennis in future,” he said.

Mtengula said the players were eager to follow the footsteps of America-based Chisomo Lumeta, who earned a scholarship after dominating a similar tournament in 2009.

“They all know that if they do well they will stand a chance of winning scholarship,” he said.

Mtengula also hailed Puma Energy Malawi for coming to the rescue of the team.

“They have been sponsoring Malawi Open tennis championship for the past six years. The company has also been supporting Malawi junior squad trips for the past three years. Puma has shown that they are serious when it comes to the development of tennis and, as coaches, we need to give them good results,” he said.

Ltam president Titani Muwalo confirmed that the trip has been made possible with the financial assistance from Puma Energy.

He also said by participating in the tournament, the local tennis federation has demonstrated seriousness to develop the game of tennis at grassroots.

“The championship is a very important event in ITF calendar. As a country, we have shown that we are committed to develop tennis at grassroots,” he added.

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