Barry Silah @obel_barry
Kenya and Namibia were officially admitted to the prestigious ITF Davis Cup Euro/Africa Group Two following nervy and close wins at Nairobi Club.
Almost three decades since Kenya nearly stepped onto the World Group courtesy of legendary players like Norbert Oduor and Paul Wekesa, the country got reward for their well-earned 2-1 decider victory over tough Benin in a thriller.
The super doubles pairing of Ibrahim Kibet and Ismael Changawa came to the party in style after surviving a scare in the second set but matching on to win 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 sparking off wild celebrations at the well attended centre court stands. It was a match that took nearly two hours and exhibited high-level tennis between pairings well known to each other.
Earlier top seed Changawa fell off against rival Alexis Klegou of Benin 6-7(2), 4-6 in an epic singles match .In the first rubber however, ever blooming Sheil Kotecha beat Delmas N’tcha in straight sets of 6-4,6-4 in a battle of the second seeds.
Kenya finished second in Pool A behind Namibia on Friday after winning four and losing one rubber while losing finalists and Benin and Nigeria also had the same statistics in Pool B. It boiled down to two eventual winners from both groups to carry the mantle into the much glamorous Group Two household.
Captain Rosemary Owino was over the moon and praised the attitude and character her players displayed on home court. “It is a great feeling and I am so proud of the boys.
It has been long coming and finally we are here. We had to believe and be bold against solid opponents in our yard. We spoke as a group and agreed on what tactics to use and my players hardly disappointed. This is a great milestone for tennis in Kenya,” she said.