Zim brace for Hong Kong tie

02 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Zim brace for Hong Kong tie Lock brothers

Suburban

TENNIS Zimbabwe president Walter Jera says they are hoping their Davis Cup team will rise to the occasion when they face Hong Kong this weekend in the World Group II Play-offs.

Ellina Mhlanga Senior Sports Reporter

The tie is set for Saturday and Sunday at Victoria Park Tennis Stadium, in Hong Kong.

TZ announced the team on Wednesday made up of the Lock brothers — Benjamin and Courtney, who have been part for the team for some time, and upcoming players, Benedict Badza and Tatenda Mutetwa.

Takanyi Garanganga continues in his role as non-playing captain.

Mutetwa joins the team for the first time.

Badza, who has been part of the development squad played in the Africa Group III event where Zimbabwe earned their promotion back into the World Group II Play-offs last August, in South Africa.

Jera is hoping the team will do well and said they are bringing in young players to learn from the experienced players as they prepare for the future.

“You will notice that we have been having Courtney and Benji in the team…So obviously our strategic view is to now have youngsters who understudy and take advantage of these guys who have been on tour for some time.

“This is why we have Benedict Badza, who featured in the last tournament in Pretoria…I think the one who has actually been dropped is Takura Mhwandagara. The captain made a choice for Tatenda Mutetwa from his own assessment, they are all juniors and in his view he has more depth.

“But we have all this group of youngsters whom we would want to see through as take overs from Benji and Courtney who have ably led Zimbabwe to take us to Group II,” said Jera.

Jera said they would want stay in World Group II as they also prepare for the future.

“What we would want at this stage is to be able to stay in Group II. Why that? The depth that we have, which is where we are starting obviously cannot take us to Group I. So we need to be realistic there.

“So with this strategic plan we have these juniors coming through. The younger juniors whom are participating in the Africa Junior Championships and this pool of juniors who are understudying Courtney and Benji.

“We believe by putting them at the deep end like we have done, we will then be able to maintain that Group status and enable them, given resources to then take us to Group I.

“So in terms of timelines it might take more than five years.”

Tatenda Mutetwa

The team is now in Hong Kong. They are coming from different tournament they have been competing in. They will be hoping to carry the momentum into the weekend’s tie.

TZ general manager Kupakwashe Mukurumbira said the captain have been monitoring the players since late last year.

“The preparation for the team started way back in October. Our team was selected then and the captain has been monitoring all the players because all of them are US-based, ensuring that they participate in different competitions, monitoring their performances as well as generally designing plans around their preparations up to now.

“So currently all of them, they are already in Hong Kong,” said Mukurumbira.

Zimbabwe are ranked 73 and will be hoping to cause an upset as Hong Kong are placed 54 on the rankings.

The 12 winning nations from the play-offs will progress to play a World Group II tie in September. The losing nations will compete in their respective regional Group III events later in the year.

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