Kenya looks set for the World Cup tennis to be staged at the Solaimaneyah Club in Cairo where they face Botswana from today.
Led by captain Rosemary Owino, Kenyans upped their preparations hoping to banish the notion they are underdogs.
As per Davis Cup Rules, the No. 2 player opens proceedings, meaning that Sheil Kotecha will play the first rubber against Lefa Ashley Sibanda before Ismael Changawa, Kenya’s No. 1, plays Innocent Tidimane the diminutive 17 year old who plays his first Davis Cup Singles tie having previously been involved in the Doubles competition.
Changawa’s experience will be invaluable as he looks to lead the team through the Pool stages. Tidimane’s team mate Ashley Sibanda will bring a bit more experience in the opening rubber, having won two previous Davis Cup encounters, one win co-incidentally coming against Kenya’s Ibrahim Kibet Yego in last year’s installment of the competition in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
A fast rising Sheil Kotecha will however be looking to put in a strong performance having recently gotten to the Final of the Kenya Open as well as winning one of two ITF 18 & Under Circuits in Nairobi before departure for Cairo. Kenya’s Captain has Ibrahim Kibet Yego and Olivier Kigotho to choose from as the third and fourth ranked players respectively.
Captain Rosemary Owino will be secretly happy with the draw with Kenya having avoided the dangerous Egypt and Zimbabwe in the Pool Stages. Kenya is drawn in Pool B alongside Benin who beat them last year, Algeria and Botswana who they beat in Madagascar and Libya who grace the event this year having missed the 2016 edition. A strong Benin side led by Alexis Klegou will however be without the services of Loic Didavi, a major loss to the team.
Pool A comprises Zimbawe led by Captain Martin Dzuwa who will lead Benjamin Locke, Takanyi Garaganga and Tadiwo Chimano in an attempt to gain promotion back into Group II having been relegated from there last year.
Egypt looks to lay a strong promotion challenge as the team comprising Mohamed Safwat, Karim Mohamed Maamoun, Yousef Hossam and Sherif Sabry do battle on home ground. Captain Mostafa Naim Dalam will be on court keeping a close eye on affairs. Pool A is closed out by Rwanda (coming back from the cold) and Nigeria who in the face of Egypt and Zimbabwe will face severe tests.
The competition takes place from today, 17th to 22nd July, 2017 with the two top teams in both Pools facing off for a duel which will see the two winners earn promotion to Group II of the World Cup of Tennis.