The Botswana tennis team arrived safely in Burundi on Tuesday to compete in a five-nation open tournament as part of preparations for the Davis Cup to be held in Morocco in May this year.
Despite being strained of resources and without sponsors, the Botswana Tennis team is committed to competing in the Davis Cup. This was said by the team’s coach, Thato Kgosimore, reiterating what the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) Public Relations Officer, Oshinka Tsiang, had said earlier.
Tsiang said it was very crucial for the six-men team and the coach to take part in the tournament as it will be played on clay courts, saying this would familiarize the team with clay courts.
The Davis Cup is also played on clay courts. Due to lack of funds, the Botswana team, unlike the four others of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, will not be able to finish the four week East Africa Circuit tournament which will be played one week after another in all the four countries.
The team is expected back home on Tuesday.
Before leaving Botswana, Kgosimore said at their training session in Notwane Tennis grounds that he intended to intensify his team’s training to two sessions a day to catch up, as they were a bit behind schedule.
The team, which will be made up of four men, will leave Botswana two weeks prior to the tournament for North Africa in either Egypt or Tunisia upon where they will take part in six tournaments in preparation for the Davis Cup.
Despite operating on thin ice, Kgosimore said his boys have a lot of commitment but he, however, lamented the lack of sponsors.
“I’m trying a lot to get sponsors and hopefully Air Botswana, which has donated training gear, will help with travelling tickets.”
Tsiang confirmed that their team is geared for the May Tournament despite sponsors being hard to get, adding that they are doing everything they can to secure sponsors.
“We have not identified any sponsors yet but we are hopeful to get some before the tournament,” he said.
Botswana has taken part in the Davis Cup since its inception in 1994 and had its best team in 1999 when it won in the Group Three levels but failed to qualify for Group Two as it faced tough competition from teams such as San Marino and Arberzijan.
Botswana is ranked in the bottom level three due to factors, such as immaturity in the sport and winning just a few tournaments.
Kgosimoreng’s profile inspires confidence since he competed in the Davies Cup from 1994 to 2002. He played in the All Africa Games in 1995 and 1999 in South Africa.
He also played College Tennis for four years at Auburn University in the United States of America, and has an International Junior World Ranking and has graduated to senior entry level for International Tennis Federation in Future and Satellite Tournament.
Kgosimoreng is also a member of the All Africa Games team.
The Davis Cup is an international team event in men’s tennis and is run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The competition started in 1900 as a challenge between Britain and the United States.
In 2005, 134 countries sent their teams to compete in the competitions, a massive growth in the tournament that saw it rise to international recognition.┬á The teams that take part in the games compete in a knock out format, and the most successful teams in the tournament are the United States of America and Australia.
The USA has won the competition a record thirty-two times, finishing as runner ups twenty-nine times, while Australia won it twenty-eight times finishing as runners up nineteen times.