The ITF/AJC Africa Junior Championship, which will for the first time not include the Under-18 age group starts from April 10 to 14 in Egypt.
The AJC also counts as the qualifying event for the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.
Zimbabwe’s two Under-16 players, Nicole Dzenga and Thabile Tshatedi, did not take part at the zonal qualifiers held in Namibia for various reasons thereby missing out on the continental showcase.
However, Zimbabwe will have representatives in other age groups with Courtney Lock, Alwin Mushonga, Tadiwa Chinamo, Keith Mwashita, Karen Muswere and Karen Mwashita who qualified for the event.
The duo of Lock and Mushonga will take part in the Under-16 boys’ age group while Chinamo and Mwashita have qualified for the Under-14 age group. Muswere and Mwashita have qualified for the Under-14 girls’ category.
Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) administrator Cliff Nhokwara said they would have wanted to send a full team, but could not do so as the players had other commitments.
“Thabile was injured when the AJC zonal qualifiers were held in Namibia while Nicole had just been accepted at a tennis academy in France. The academy will have a tournament running at the same time with the AJC. She chose to go to the academy. However, I hope the six that we are sending will do well in Egypt,” he said.
Nhokwara added that the TZ’s selection committee will be meeting this week to come up with a team for the inaugural ITF/CAT 18 and Under Closed Junior Championships set for South Africa from March 19 to 24.
“The Under-18 age group is no longer part of AJC and will be held on its own. The selection committee meets to come up with a set of players to represent Zimbabwe in the tournament,” he said.
Three Zimbabwe players — Byron, Wayne and Cara Black — are on the AJC roll of honour.
Retired Byron was the Under-18 champion in 1985 and he went on to achieve the highest singles ranking of 22 as well as the number one men’s doubles ranking in his career while Wayne, who has also retired, represented Zimbabwe in the Davis Cup and the Olympic Games.
Cara is a former girls’ champion of 1992 and was nominated as the ITF Junior World Champion in 1997, having finished the year ranked number one in singles and doubles on the ITF Junior World Rankings.