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Hosts Kenya face big fight to keep title

Tuesday September 10 2019

Kenya's Davis Cup team player Albert Njogu plays a backhand shot to Ibrahim Kibet during a training session at the Nairobi Club on September 9, 2019. The 2019 Davis Cup Africa Group III tournament is slated for September 11 to 14 at Nairobi Club Clay Courts. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Kenya's Davis Cup team player Albert Njogu plays a backhand shot to Ibrahim Kibet during a training session at the Nairobi Club on September 9, 2019. The 2019 Davis Cup Africa Group III tournament is slated for September 11 to 14 at Nairobi Club. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

LOKEDER NATIOM
By LOKEDER NATIOM
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GEOFFREY ANENE
By GEOFFREY ANENE
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Hosts Kenya have singled out Tunisia as the country that will pose the biggest threat in the 2019 Davis Cup Africa Group III tournament slated for September 11 to 14 at Nairobi Club.

Tunisia along with Namibia, Algeria and Mozambique were expected in Nairobi for the tournament on Monday.

Madagascar arrived on Friday, Benin on Saturday and Nigeria jetted in early Monday for the eight-nation event.

According to Tennis Kenya Administrator Susan Adhiambo, Kenya, who stunned Mozambique, Algeria and Uganda in Pool ‘B’ and top-seeds Benin in last year’s play-offs, are under pressure to repeat last year’s performance.

Pressure is on Kenya to replicate last year’s performance when the tournament serves off Wednesday.

Kenya’s non-playing captain Rosemary Owino said: “The pressure is on us. Today’s training sought to help players feel confident on the courts and to polish their skills. The boys are looking better but we need the Kenyan crowd to come and support us. My players are now more experienced than they were last year, and they are positive about the tournament.”

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Kenya will be missing its top player Sheil Kotecha, but three of her players from last year’s event (Ismael Changawa, Kevin Cheruiyot and Ibrahim Kibet) will compete.

Albert Njogu will compete in the four-day event for the first time.

In 2018, Kenya beat Uganda and Mozambique in two singles and doubles matches. The team went on to win one singles match against Namibia, and lost another singles and doubles encounter against the same opponents to finish second in Pool ‘B’.

The team floored Pool ‘A’ winners Benin 2-1, and Namibia went on to register similar results against Nigeria in a play-off match to earn promotion to Davis Cup Euro/Africa Group II.

However, the two teams missed out on promotion after the International Tennis Federation , in its Annual General Meeting in the USA, made key changes to the Davis Cup which take effect this year.

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