Coach tips Njogu

Fast-rising teenage backed to shine in Davis Cup in the absence of Kotecha

Kenya is set to get proceedings underway against Madagascar and Owino is not afraid of their opponents.

In Summary

• The Kenyan Davis Cup team head coach Rosemary Owino has faith in fast-rising sensation Albert Njogu in fitting into Sheil Kotecha's shoes.

• Team Kenya will be seeking to qualify for the lucrative Euro/Africa Group II from today at Nairobi Club.

Albert Njogu returns a serve in a past match
Albert Njogu returns a serve in a past match
Image: ERICK BARASA

The Kenyan Davis Cup team head coach Rosemary Owino has full faith in fast-rising Tennis sensation Albert Njogu as he seeks to step into Sheil Kotecha's shoes this year.

The Kenyan team, which will be seeking to qualify for the lucrative Euro/Africa Group II from today at Nairobi Club, will miss the services of Kotecha who played a key role in the team's qualification last year before it was overturned.

Kenya, who hosted and won the tournament last year,  are currently placed in the Africa Group III but the International Tennis Federation(ITF) annulled the victory after a revision of the statues in an Annual General Meeting held in the United States of America.

Kotecha was largely relied on in the singles with Ismael Changawa teaming with Ibrahim Kibet for the doubles but with the former unavailable, Owino opted for Njogu who was part of the three reserve players during last year's event.

The other two reserve players in the last edition are Ryan Randiek and Olivier Kigotho. This year, Kenya will look up to the quartet of Changawa, Kibet, Njogu and Kevin Cheruiyot to deliver.

Owino tipped the Form Four student to assume Kotecha's roles in the team to claim the two qualification spots which have attracted nine nations. During the draw conducted yesterday, Kenya was placed in Pool 'B' alongside Madagascar, Benin and Algeria while last year's first runner up Namibia headlined Pool 'A' which has Nigeria, Tunisia and Mozambique.

“The team is ready for the tournament despite missing Kotecha who is committed elsewhere. He was a key player last year but Njogu is also equal to the task after we slotted him in the best four. He was one of our reserves last year but he has come of age and with support from the rest, we expect him to punch above his weight.”

Kenya team are set to get proceedings underway against Madagascar and Owino is not afraid of their opponents.“The draw is fair. We are not afraid of our opponents as we have fine-tuned the boys to compete against the best.”

At the same time, the burly Kibet said the absence of Kotecha will not be felt as the team had addressed that in their drills.

“Personally, I have been working on my singles for quite some time and I think the rest have also sharpened up for the tournament. We knew Kotecha will not be around and we trained to fill his gap. If the coach summons me to play singles or doubles, I am ready so are the rest.”