Kenyan ladies eye improved World Cup show - Daily Nation

Kenyan ladies eye improved World Cup show

Tuesday February 20 2018

Kenya's Collins Omondi hits a return to Egypt's Mohammed Sobhy during their the International Tennis Federation’s BNP Paribas Wheelchair World Team Cup African qualifiers at the Nairobi Club on February 15, 2018.  Sobhy won 7-5, 6-0. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO |

Kenya's Collins Omondi hits a return to Egypt's Mohammed Sobhy during their the International Tennis Federation’s BNP Paribas Wheelchair World Team Cup African qualifiers at the Nairobi Club on February 15, 2018.  Sobhy won 7-5, 6-0. PHOTO | KANYIRI WAHITO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BRIAN YONGA
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Kenya coach Lawrence Karanja has called for early preparations ahead of this year’s the International Tennis Federation (ITF) BNP Paribas Wheelchair World Team Cup.

Karanja led the women’s team to sealing their spot at a third World Cup after winning the African qualifiers over the weekend at the Nairobi Club.

And the tactician is hoping to get an early start with his charges ahead of this year’s World Cup which will be held in Apeldoorn, Netherlands from May 28 to June 3.

“Qualification was just the first step, the real work starts in getting ready for the global event because we want to excel this time around,” Karanja told Nation Sport.

Kenya defeated Tanzania 2-1 in a pulsating final on Sunday to secure qualification to the global showpiece.

“Playing at home also worked out in our favour as the fans played their part in ensuring we never lost hope,” the award winning coach said.

Both teams had topped their respective pools to seal their place in the final with Kenya winning Pool one and Tanzania upsetting favourites Morocco to top pool two.

In the final, top seed Jane Ndenga was first up on court against Tanzania’s Lucy Julius Shirima, and the home player won 6-3, 6-2 to give Kenya the lead.

Tanzania levelled in the second singles match as Rehema Selemani downed Phoebe Masika 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to take the contest to a deciding doubles contest.

Ndenga and Masika held their nerve to win 6-2, 6-2 to claim top spot.

It was however heartbreak for the Kenya men’s team as they once again finished third behind eventual winners Morocco and Egypt.

Kenya, who beat Tanzania 3-0 to win bronze, were eyeing their maiden World Cup slot.

Karanja, who led the women’s team to its two World Cup appearances in 2014 and 2017 believes they will do better this time. Last year, the team was placed last in the 12 team competition.

“I think the experience of last year will help us a lot and we will give a good account this time, other teams’ better watch out,” he said.

Rwanda, Ghana and Mauritius were the other countries that took part in the qualifiers.