Hosts and second seeds Kenya are in a tricky Group “B” of the 2019 Davis Cup Africa Group III event set to run from Wednesday to Saturday at the Nairobi Club.
Coach Rosemary Owino’s quartet of Ismael Changawa, Ibrahim Kibet, Kevin Cheruiyot and Albert Njogu will battle it out with familiar foes Benin, whom they lost to 2-1 in 2016 and defeated them 2-1 in 2017 in the group stages. Kenya won 2-1 in their last encounter with Benin in the promotional playoffs in 2018.
The East Africans will also play Algeria, who they thrashed 3-0 in 2016 and by the same score line in 2018 and saw them off 2-1 in 2017 in group matches. The other team in this group is Madagascar.
Kenya floored Madagascar 3-0 in Pool “B” matches in 2016 in Antananarivo on their way to earning promotion to the Europe/Africa Zone Group II.
“The draw is now out. It’s a difficult one, but we are ready and will try our best. All opponents in our group fear us, especially me,” Changawa told Nation Sport after the draw on Tuesday afternoon.
The first group consists of Tunisia, who are top seeds, along with Namibia, Nigeria and Mozambique. Tunisia and Madagascar are the new faces in Group III this year. The Tunisians are back in Group III after being relegated from Europe/Africa Zone Group II. The North Africans are pre-tournament favourites.
The draw was conducted by International Tennis Federation (ITF) Referee Anton Rens in the presence of the teams and other officials at the Nairobi Club.
Each team will play against each other three times – two singles matches and one doubles match. Then, the top-two teams will advance to promotional playoffs where winner of Pool “A” will meet second-ranked side from Pool “B” and vice versa to qualify for promotion. “The bottom two sides will be demoted to play in Africa Group IV in 2020,” said ITF Assistant Referee Patrick Kamuhia.
Kamuhia said the unpredictable weather in Nairobi may cause havoc.
Rankings of countries taking part in 2019 Davis Cup Africa Group III event in Nairobi: - Tunisia (70), Kenya (76), Benin (80), Namibia (81), Nigeria (88), Algeria (90), Mozambique (105) and Madagascar (111).