Nelson Amanze has been elected the president of Tennis Associations in Southern Africa’s Zone 5.
Amanze follows in the footsteps of other local sports administrators who have been elected to lead sports in the continent and the region, in the likes of Botswana Netball Association (BONA) president Tebogo Lebotse as well as Botswana Boxing Association (BOBA) president, Michael Moroka, who are the presidents of Africa Netball and Zone IV Boxing Federations, respectively.
The Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) Public Relations Officer was elected to the post during the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) Annual General Meeting that was held in the country last week.
Speaking in an interview, the newly elected Zone IV president said he is looking forward to ‘doing his duty to the best of his ability’ and will be looking forward to the support of the BTA as well as the regional and continental tennis federations to ensure his tenure at the helm of Zone IV is a success.
At the head of the Zone, Amanze says his major objectives in his four year term will be to strive for regional cooperation, development of tennis officials in the region, hosting of major continental tournaments by the region as well as the reintroduction of senior tennis tournaments.
“I believe there is a lot of potential in Southern Africa to produce world class tennis players who can compete with the best but the problem is there is no cooperation in the region. My first objective will be to try and get the region to communicate and cooperate so that we can create more tournaments to give our players the necessary exposure for them to compete in bigger events,” Amanze said.
He says so far, only South Africa has sound structures that allow for good development of tennis in the country while other countries in the region are still far behind. He says through cooperation, the region can learn a lot from South Africa and share ideas to help grow the sport. On the issue of tournaments, the president of Zone IV says he will be advocating for the region to host bigger events like the African Nations Cup (CAN) tournament, which he says has always been held in the North of Africa but has never been to the Southern African region.
The tournament, which is one of the biggest in the continent, is used as a stage to choose players who take part in the Olympics as well as to prepare players who wish to join the professional ranks. Also high among Amanze’s objectives will be the reintroduction of senior tennis competitions in the region.
“We have a lot of junior tournaments but do not have senior tournaments. This leads to a situation whereby once players pass the age of 18, they have no tournaments to play except the Davies cup and this is not good for our sport,” Amanze said.
While relishing the task ahead, the newly elected Zone IV president says his major challenge will be ‘to get everyone in the region to work together towards a common goal.’ Having been one of the founders of the now struggling Association of Southern African Tennis (ASAT), Amanze is well aware of how hard it is to get the region to work together.
On his election, Amanze says he did not want to stand for elections but he bowed to pressure from his colleagues in the region who nominated him to stand. He called upon the public not to read malice in his ascension to the Zonal presidency while he himself is not the BTA president saying he stood as was the wish of regional tennis associations.