Kenyans set sights on Davis Cup promotion showpiece

By Clement Wekulo: Wednesday, September 11th 2019 at 14:49 GMT +3 | Sports
Kenya's Ismael Chang'awa (right) and Franco Mata of Mozambique. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya’s representatives at the Davis Cup Africa Group III Championship, which starts at the Nairobi Club today, are hopeful of a good show.

The East Africans, who are under the tutelage of non-playing captain Rosemary Owino, have been drawn in pool B which has Benin, Algeria and Madagascar, who were the first team to arrive in Nairobi on Friday. 

 Lead title chase

“The boys have been preparing well and we just urge our fans to come out and support them,” Owino said yesterday after the draw was conducted by South African Anton Renes, who is the tournament supervisor. 

“We were expecting anything draw because we are ready for any of the teams. Our aim is to take each match at a time and the draw doesn’t really change that,” added Owino. 

Kenya will miss the services of Sheil Kotecha with three-time Kenya Open champion Ismael Changawa set to their lead the title chase. 

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Reigning Kenya Open winner Ibrahim Kibet is also in the team alongside Kevin Cheruiyot and Albert Njogu. 

“We know there is intense pressure to deliver since we are playing at home but we shall give our best,” said Kibet, who made a rallying call to the fans to turn up. 

Kibet’s sentiments were echoed by Changawa who has called on his teammates to stay focused and clinch the title. 

“Everyone of them is ready and well prepared and all of them will do their best when fielded. We want to support every player who will compete in each match,” said Owino, the first female African to coach a Davis Cup side. 

The stakes are high as the best two teams in the eight-team event, which is being held in Kenya for a second successive year, will be promoted to the Africa and Euro Group II tournament.

 Ranking changes

After an impressive performance in the last edition, Kenya earned promotion but it would later be rescinded as a result of ranking changes by the International Tennis Federation which took effect this year. 

Top-ranked side Tunisia headline Group A where they will face Namibia, Nigeria and Mozambique.

The teams will battle in a round-robin format from today to Friday with the top two in each group clashing in the play-offs on Saturday.

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