Photo: Suzie Dyrbus, ITFTanzania
Kenya hosts the BNP Paribas World Team Cup African Qualification for the third consecutive year this week when six nations contest the first of four 2014 qualification events for the ITF’s annual flagship wheelchair tennis team event in Nairobi.
Six teams will vie for a qualification spot in men’s World Group II at the Nairobi Club, while three teams will bid to earn a place in the women’s World Group for the 2014 BNP Paribas World Team Cup to be held in Alphen, Netherlands from 26 May until 1 June.
Morocco, runner-up to Nigeria in the African Qualification in 2012, is the top seed for the men’s event this time and has the highest ranked player, with Boukartacha Lhaj being ranked No. 35 in the men’s singles ranking. Nigeria is second seed and Alex Adewale and Yusuf Wasiu will attempt to steer Nigeria to victory in the qualification event for the third year in a row.
Egypt, the runner-up to Nigeria in 2013, Gambia, Kenya and Tanzania will be hoping to upset the top two seeds and the three-strong men’s team from Tanzania features two of the players who represented Tanzania in the junior event at the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team in Antalya, Turkey.
On that occasion Novatus Emmanuel Temba won Tanzania’s first ever match in the World Team Cup in the second rubber of the seventh place play-off against South Africa in the junior event. Tanzania’s junior team went on to be voted Team of the Year at the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup by the other teams competing in Turkey.
The six teams in the men’s qualification event at the Nairobi Club this week will start the competition in two round-robin groups of three teams and the winners of the two round-robin groups will meet in the final.
Like Nigeria in the men’s event, South Africa won the women’s event at the African Qualification for the last two years, but South Africa’s performance at the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup earned direct entry for the women’s World Group in 2014.
Egypt, Kenya and Tanzania are the teams bidding to earn qualification for the women’s World Group this year, with Kenya having finished runner-up South Africa in 2013. All three teams will play each other in a round-robin competition.