A group of domestic tennis players have threatened not to compete in this year’s edition of the Tanga Cement that started at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club courts yesterday.
The group has claimed to sideline itself from the tourney on the grounds of not having a representative in the organising committee.
However, the Tanzania Tennis Association (TTA) secretary general who also dons tennis captaincy at the club, Inger Njau, said the tournament will go on as planned.
Njau said the group has a motive behind their boycott as they should have made it clear ahead of the tournament.
The tournament has drawn players from Burundi, Kenya, Uganda Rwanda and Zimbabwe besides the boycotted locals.
Njau said she is not worried of the priceless boycott as the tournament will go on hence it is open to anyone.
“This is an open tournament. It’s not a national tournament, I hope other players will play,” said Njau.
A group of more than 25 tennis players allegedly headed by Fouad Somi said they will not compete at the tournament.
The group claims TTA under the current leadership does not value the local players in all decision making.
The group claimed that there is no local person at the officiating panel.
“We are tired with this leadership. They don’t value us, how can they run all the activities of the association without even involving us, ” said Somi.
He said TTA has hired four international officials for the tournament for no apparent reason.
They bemoaned the presence of Kijitonyama tennis coach Zambian Boaz Kasiba Mwakyusa whom they doubt of his competence.
Mwakyusa confirmed to have played for Zambia youth national team in the late 90s but said he is a Tanzanian and he only played for Zambia when his parent were working in that country.
Mwakyusa denied the incompetence claims while admitting to have achieved a level one officiating certificate, hence having officiated many international events in and outside the country.
Somi has blamed TTA of sidelining him despite being one of five qualified referees in the country.
Salum Mvita, one of the most recognized Dar Gymkhana Club coach, is assistant official at the tournament.
Njau disputed the claims by the group and said those who are boycotting the tournament have some motives against the current leadership of TTA.
She said her association has been trying to work with all tennis players in the country regardless of nationality, race or colour.
Njau also blamed the group staging the boycott aiming at tarnishing the image of TTA behind the sponsor and media.
Tanga Cement managing director Erick Westerberg said his company will continue supporting the event.
The firm has poured in $7,750 as prize fund package for the tourney, making it the highly lucrative tennis championship in the country.