Zambian tennis, a national embarrassment

Zambian tennis, a national embarrassment

Matt Chansa – by correspondence, Gaborone. – 9/11/2018

There are a lot of talented tennis players in Zambia – juniors and seniors alike,  that work very hard, but many of them do not get the possibility to further develop, and showcase their skills on an international level. One of the reasons for this is that there are not enough tennis tournaments in Africa

They used to be ITF junior and ITF Satellite tournaments decade ago which gave players the chance to win ITF or ATP points. Today, international tournaments rarely exist. 

When Zambia tennis players finally get the chance to compete internationally, they a have to fend for themselves without the support of  the current Zambia Tennis association. (ZTA). Players have to look for their own sponsors to help themselvespay for the travel cost to the tournaments, pay for their own entry fees into the tournaments, food and lodging. Above all, they have to pay for their own team uniforms while representing Zambia.

A point in case is a prestigious and the first African Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) Nations Cup which is going on at National Tennis Center in Gaborone, Botswana. Zambia is represented by two fine young men in the name of Edgar Kazembe who has been a Zambia number one player for a decade and Kombe Mabo, a solid top three ranked player in Zambia player.

In the first round of the men’s singles, Kazembe beat Musa Bah from Sierra Leone 6-0,6-0 but fell short in the second round by losing to Kenyan Yebo Ibrahim  via a 6-0, 6-4. Kombe, on the hand, also won the first round in the third set thriller by defeating Lekang Aobakwe of Botswana 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 but lost his second round to another Kenyan Changawa Ismael by 6-2,6-2. 

In the men’s doubles bracket, the pair of Kazembe and Kombelost in the semi-finals to seed number one – Ahouda Amine and Fattah Anas from Morocco 6-1,5-2. Kazembe and Kombe did not finish the second set due to an injury.

As much as we could be proud of the performance of the two great sons of Zambia with their incredible results. ZTA should be embarrassed for sending two sportsmen to represent the association and the entire Zambia without a single support to the team

The players through their passion for the sport had to dig into their own pockets and pay for the transportation to Botswana and pay their entry fees while representing Zambia. Worse enough, Zambia was the only team out of ten countries represented  – without a national uniform at the opening ceremony as well as on the court.

It’s clear the current Zambia Tennis Association executive have no capacity to raise funds for national tennis programmes or even any idea to develop the sport nationally. Not sure they have the best interest at heart for the sport at all. They have lamentably failed to organise even a single tournament since the executive was ushered in. 

The current local juniors tournaments taking place around the nation are all sponsored with the effort of local companies such Mopani Copper Mining (MCM),  First Quantum Mineral (FQM) , Mika Hotels and several other individual clubs in the Copperbelt area. 

The question is where is the National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) and Sports ministry to let such a national embarrassment to occur.

It seems the days of ZTA executives to be administrators as a way to improve and develop the sport of tennis in the nation are over. If The Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development  as well as National Sports Council of Zambia does not keep an eye on ZTA then our teams will continue being a national embarrassments at the international events.


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  • comment-avatar
    Handball 5 days ago

    Thats not tennis in the picture. Its the reporter who doesnt know what sport he is covering

  • comment-avatar
    oranje91 1 week ago

    What am I missing in the picture? Is tennis in Zambia racquets optional, bigger balls and now a team sport?

  • comment-avatar

    I think ZTA is clueless, I wonder if they even knew that the boys were going to the tournament in Botswana for African Nations because we never heard any news regarding the same in the paper. I am guessing the boys just picked up their bags and decide to go and participate on behalf of sleepy ZTA. Maybe ZTA executive should resign because this is really embarrassing to the sport and the country.

  • comment-avatar
    Neymor 1 week ago

    A lot of encouragement must be given to kazembe for working so hard for more than a decade using his own resources. However, the question I have is, how can he dominate the sport for such a long time without being dethroned? Simply put, there’s no competition enough to expose other upcoming players due to lack of serious foundation and organisations thereby exposing the inefficiency of the executive. If the executive has any morals they should just resign. My kids and many others including others dont even know that there’s tennis in Zambia, the same goes to badminton and squash. Same people have run these sports for life like Mpondela for athletics. Learn from boxing which at one time had completely died but with right people running the sport, every Zambian runs home to watch whenever there’s a bout. Boxing has has become a source of livelihood for many. Maybe the boxing administrators must start running tennis,squash and badminton

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