Tennis Academy Feels the Heat

A Masvingo-based tennis academy say they have begun to feel the COVID-19 effects, especially among their coaches, who rely on payments from parents.

Inspiration Academy, which was founded by Privy Fanisai and cater for all age-groups, has been affected since sport was frozen across the country in March.

Although sponsorship has always been a challenge for the sport code, the virus-induced break has even created bigger challenges.

Yesterday, founder and coach, Fanisai, said the inactivity has mostly affected their dedicated coaches.

“We have been greatly affected. We are trying to give fitness trainings via social media just to keep the players in shape.

“However, coaches have been economically affected as they did not have any long-term contracts.

“They used to get paid by individual parents after offering training sessions.

“As it is, no training, no payments and coaches are now struggling to make ends meet. “There is no sponsorship for tennis in Masvingo and parents use their own means, as a result, coaches are not well remunerated and end up doing community service,” she said.

Fanisai says they have been motivated by some success stories posted by the province.

“Tennis has been so successful at the junior level — that is Under-12 and below — with the province dominating at both national (Tennis Zimbabwe and NAPH tournaments) and international level COSSASA.

“As coaches, we have managed to groom the talent at its earliest ages.

“However, this has not been reciprocated at senior level from Under-14 and above because tennis is expensive in terms of equipment (balls, shoes and racquets), coaching fees and travelling costs.

“Players and coaches need to travel a lot nationally and internationally for the players to be recognised.

“There is also need for a tennis league for Masvingo in order to keep nurturing the talent,” she said.

Before lockdown came into effect, Masvingo had a junior tournament (closed) which was set for April 3 – 5.

Some of the provincial players were set to attend the ITF Under-18 tournament scheduled for Bulawayo.

Zimbabwe was expected to send some athletes to Madagascar for the ITF Under-18 while the Under-12 were also supposed to play in Mozambique.

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