By Dorothy Nekesa
Coach John Oduke is optimistic that Uganda will perform better in the East Africa Junior Tennis Championship in Bujumbura Burundi.
“We have had extensive preparations for a couple of months together with coach Edward Odockcen and am convinced we are ready to compete,” Oduke revealed.
“These are great players and I believe they will perform very well. Last time we had challenges in preparations but this time round we started preparing early and I believe the results will be good,” Oduke said.
At the previous ITF/CAT East African Junior Teams’ Competition for Under 14 and 16 years and Uganda only fetched the Under 14 boys category bronze. The U14 girls, U16 girls and boys finished fourth in the event held in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Uganda juniors now target better rankings in this year’s edition due January 7-14,2023 in Burundi at Entente Sportive de Bujumbura Court.
“We hosted more than 30 players from different academies for the national team qualifiers where we selected the best,” Edward Odockcen noted during the teams’ flag-off on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, in Kampala.
This year Emmanuel Oroma is in charge of Strength and Conditioning (S&C) and Edgar Kazibwe, a psychologist for the team as Uganda Tennis Association seeks to build complete athletes.
The Bujumbura regional event is a qualifier for the African Junior Championship for Under 14 and 16 (AJC) scheduled for later this year. The singles will be run over four days using the fed-in system, allowing the competition to progress as normal but ensuring that every player plays a match every day.
The 14 & Under individual tournament will count as a Grade 2 Tournament for the ITF/CAT circuit of 2023.
The doubles events will be run on a knock-out basis. At the end of the Junior Championships, then a final country ranking will be determined on the basis of the accumulation of points in the boys and girls’ singles and doubles.Team Uganda’s participants
Boys 14 & Under: Abdul Latif Ssendyowa, Jonah Ssentongo and Cillian Ndilima.
Girls 14 & Under: Olivia Natukunda, Hilder Afwoyoroth and Abigail Nabasinga.
Boys 16 and under: Troy Zziwa, Nasser Ochom and Francis Agonzebwa.
Girls 16 & under: Maggie Flavia Namaganda, Edna Lovinsa Nabiryo and Abigail Nabasinga.