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Billie Jean King Cup gets Ksh14M boost ahead of tourney in Nairobi

Monday, June 10th, 2024 14:51 | By
The Kenyan team for Billie Jean King Cup action in Nairobi. PHOTO/@moyasa_ke/X
The Kenyan team for Billie Jean King Cup action in Nairobi. PHOTO/@moyasa_ke/X

The Ministry of Youth Affairs, Creative Economy and Sports has confirmed its support for the Billie Jean King Cup after announcing to have pumped more than Ksh14 million into the tournament.

Speaking during the opening ceremony, Cabinet Secretary for Sports and Youth Affairs Ababu Namwamba reiterated the government’s support by signing the Ksh14M check that will go towards supporting the tournament.

This is the second time in a row, and the third time ever that the tournament will be held in Nairobi as the Kenyan team which currently sits in Group Three goes in search of promotion to Group Two.

Okutoyi to lead Team Kenya

Kenya, who will be captained by Tennis sensation Angela Okutoyi will be looking to better their third place finish in last year’s edition held in Nairobi. Okutoyi returned to the country last week after her heroics at the W15 Monastir doubles in Tunisia which saw her rise 20 places in the Women's Tennis Association.

Okutoyi in past action in Nairobi. PHOTO/@tennis_kenya/X
Okutoyi in past action in Nairobi. PHOTO/@tennis_kenya/X

The team will also include Rosehilda Asumwa, Alicia Owegi, and Cynthia Cheruto.

The Kenyan team will open their campaign against Mauritius before taking on Burundi and Tunisia ahead of the semifinals later this week in Nairobi.

The tournament will bring together twelve African nations including South Africa, Namibia, Mauritius, Uganda, Madagascar, Burundi, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Botswana, Nigeria, and Kenya

Kenya managed a third-place finish at last year’s edition after an overall 2-1 win over Zimbabwe.

Other day-one matches will see South Africa take on Namibia, Zimbabwe face off with Madagascar, Nigeria take on Uganda, Ghana serve off against Botswana, and Tunisia will play Burundi.

Home support in Nairobi

Head coach Francis Rogoi is optimistic that Kenya will post better results this year. Counting on home support and the cumulative experience in the team, especially Okutoyi’s Wimbledon experience to carry the day.

“I think it is a good motivation…she’s the team captain around the players. She’s pushing the players well and making them believe they can actually get to where she is today. It just needs to be every day’s work but just having Angie in the team is a big plus for us,” Mogoi noted.

Team Kenya poses with Ababu Namwamba ahead of day one action in Nairobi. PHOTO/@moyasa_ke/X
Team Kenya poses with Ababu Namwamba ahead of day one action in Nairobi. PHOTO/@moyasa_ke/X

Mogoi hopes that huge home support at the Nairobi club will be crucial for Kenya’s success at the tournament.

“Imagine Kenya hosting the World Cup in football; it is the same for tennis as far as the Billie Jean King Cup is concerned. It’s a great thing to have every other person coming to the grounds to support Team Kenya. This will give the girls great motivation to get through their matches,” he said.

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