Barry Silah @obel_barry
International Tennis Federation (ITF) has expressed willingness to improve the sport profile in the East African region. ITF’s view follows the visit by the ITF President David Haggerty to Nairobi yesterday for the ground-breaking ceremony of a tennis facility.
ITF in collaboration with Tennis Kenya has earmarked to build 24 courts in the country in a 10-acre piece of land provided by the government in Kasarani stadium.
The project is estimated will cost Sh1 billion at completion has seen Ministry of Sports provide another Sh30 million through a supplementary budget with Phase 1 harbouring six courts likely to gobble Sh75 million.
During a press briefing at Nairobi Club, Haggerty flanked by Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) President Tarak Cherif and Tennis Kenya President James Kenani praised the potential of the game in Africa.
“There is a lot of promise and through the numerous tournaments we bring to Africa, we are witnessing good growth. As ITF, we will continue to provide technical and infrastructural support wherever necessary so that we move along together.
Junior tennis in particular is picking up and soon we will deploy the transition tour model to help young players get ranking points,” said Haggerty. He expressed hope that with the strong commitment and partnership of both CAT and ITF, Kenya’s dream of producing players is well on course.
“The country has good atmosphere and stable so it was easy making the decision to move the ITF East Africa Training Centre here where future stars are being mentored.
I also had an opportunity to study Tennis Kenya’s programme overview which seemed encouraging,” added Haggerty. CAT President Tarak Cherif has praised Kenya’s ambition and promised to help facilitate many other tournaments. “Kenya is like a hub in the region for developing players which is a very positive thing.
CAT has over 200 tournaments and every year we increase to all areas of the continent. As a team, we are also keen to train and equip referees and offer financial assistance as well.
This region can set a good example and overall we are positive with progress,” he said. On his part, Kenani appealed for more corporate support in a bid to improve the sport in the country. We will always be short on finances yet we have a lot of programs.
Our dream is to partake in the Olympics and give a good showing. Through this project we are setting up, we see an opportunity to meet our targets.”