Malawi’s aspirations to become a major tennis force in Africa and beyond would get meaningful direction if the Lawn Tennis Association of Malawi (LTAM) successfully constructed the first ever Malawi National Tennis Centre at Country Club Limbe.
The K53 million-project would see LTAM renovating CCL tennis section. The projects involve renovating the six courts, stands, toilets and perimeter. The centre will also have a recreation area and gym.
LTAM general secretary, Christopher Kachale, said the facility would help Malawi stage the well-known Davis Cup for men and Fed Cup for women in future.
“No one in tennis circles can undermine the importance of the Davis and Fed Cups. We believe we have taken the right direction in our pursuit to host junior events of the two top tournaments and later senior events. The National Tennis Centre is our gate-way to the two major events. Upon completion of the centre we will be able to host the two events which are rated highly across the world,” he said.
Davis and Fed Cups are major team events across the world and it is where players master professional skills that help them advance in their careers.
The Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men’s tennis. It is run by International Tennis Federation (ITF) and is contested annually between teams from competing countries in a knockout format. Initially, the competition started in 1900 as a challenge between Great Britain and the United States of America. So far, 125 nations have participated in Davis Cup.
The women’s equivalent of the Davis Cup is the Fed Cup and it started in 1963.
Meanwhile, Confederation of Africa Tennis (Cat) regional vice president, Nelson Amanzie, urged LTAM and the government to work jointly to enable Malawi hosts international events.
Amanzie said ITF would fulfill its obligation towards the project and urged other parties to follow suit because the project was vital.
“It is crucial for us to launch this particular activity especially for Malawi because we have seen the talent that exists in Malawi and we feel that it is important to fund this project so that we can see more Malawians playing tennis. We have seen that tennis is loved but it was not being given the support it needed. We are pleased that we are able to share with Malawi the funds we have to enable them do what we want,” he said.
Amanzie said Cat with support from ITF has earmarked other countries within the Southern Africa to establish national centre in their respective countries.
“Malawi has been fortunate to be the first to receive funds through the project. We will head to Namibia then Zimbabwe and so on. International Tennis Federation wants countries to have facilities where they can play tennis. We want to invest in structures and when the centre is completed Malawi will host an international tournament,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malawi National Council of Sports board chairperson, James Chuma, said the government was committed to help LTAM achieve its goals.
“We want all sports associations to have visionary leaders, the ones that can design and implement strategic plans. We will help Lawn Tennis Association of Malawi in its quest to construct its own tennis centre,” he said.
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