• The tough-talking tactician isn’t afraid of their opponents' bid to revenge their earlier loss
• Owino, who guided Kenyan to the next group before the win was annulled, anticipates a tough match
Team Kenya has a chance to secure a place in the Euro/Africa Group II when they renew their rivalry with Mozambique in the playoff today at Nairobi Club.
Kenya edged Benin 2-1 yesterday to finish top of Pool 'B' with three points—setting up a rematch with Mozambique who finished second in Pool ‘A’ behind Tunisia.
Rosemary Owino’s charges, who saw off Mozambique 3-0 in last year’s edition will confirm their place in the lucrative group. However, the tough-talking tactician isn’t afraid of their opponents' bid to revenge their earlier loss.
Owino, who guided Kenyan to the next group before the win was annulled, anticipates a tough match as their opponents have a squad constituted of both Juniors and experienced players.
“We comfortably beat them last year but I expect a tough match today. They have juniors and senior players who play in Europe and it’s not going to be easy. Whether they are on a mission to revenge last year’s result or not, we will stick to our plan of one match at a time.”
In their match against Benin, Owino gambled by giving the inexperienced Albert Njogu the first singles. The 18-year-old Form Four student at Mbagathi Secondary School went down fighting 6-3,6-2 to Delmas N’tcha and despite the loss, Owino was left impressed with the performance of the rookie.
“Honestly it was his first singles match in the Davis Cup and he gave his best. The stage proved bigger for him and the best way for him to adapt is gradually exposing him to such kind of matches and he will soon catch up with the rest.”
Owino picked Kevin Cheruiyot for the second doubles with an eye on recovering from the opener’s upset and the lanky player did not disappoint, downing Sylvestre Monnou 6-3,7-6 (3) to restore parity. Cheruiyot said the win will inspire him to step up his game ahead of the final day of the tournament.
“The win is an inspiration before the final day where promotion is at stake. I have to work harder for the final day and at the same time seek to be consistent in each and every set.”
A heated exchange between the umpire and the Benin pair of Alexis Klegou and Arnaud Sewanou marked the start of the doubles where the duo protested what appeared to be a line infringement but the official stood his ground.
The livid West Africans suffered a 7-5 defeat in the first set to the pair of Ismael Changawa and Ibrahim Kibet before their second set fight was eventually put off in a 7-6(8) loss. Tunisia will play Madagascar who emerged second in Pool ‘B’ behind Kenya. The winner in today’s ties will be promoted to the Euro/Africa Group II.