Vosloorus tennis beats the odds

CityPress - - Sport - SIL­VER SIBIYA sil­ver.sibiya@city­press.co.za

More than 150 po­ten­tial fu­ture tennis pro­fes­sion­als are play­ing the game in poor con­di­tions at the Vosloorus Tennis Club, de­spite renovations last year.

There are four tennis courts, but only one is smooth – the re­main­ing three are full of cracks and are also bumpy.

“They are playable, but they have cracks; if only some­one could hear our cry and help us with two ex­tra courts,” Vosloorus Tennis Club coach Michael Lelosa told City Press this week.

De­spite play­ing in ter­ri­ble con­di­tions – cracked courts and a short­age of funds be­ing the main prob­lems – the club has con­tin­ued to pro­duce shin­ing stars.

Over the years, they have not only rep­re­sented Ekurhu­leni, but also South Africa in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Some of the play­ers who have made it to the big stage in­clude Tracy Nkosi, Gugu Ng­wenya and Re­filoe Mabuye.

Some of these play­ers who com­peted at the high­est level are study­ing at univer­sity now.

“Bon­gani Malinga, who played in the SA Na­tion­als, is at the Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Natal,” Lelosa said.

The club has play­ers (boys and girls) up to the age of 15. Yes­ter­day, some of their best play­ers, aged 11 to 12, got their chance to show­case their tal­ents against their coun­ter­parts in Gaut­eng East In­ter­pol qual­i­fy­ing matches. Those who qual­i­fied will rep­re­sent the Gaut­eng East squad later this year.

Cur­rently, one of the top play­ers is Tha­bang Malatsi (Un­der-15), who re­cently won the Gaut­eng East tour­na­ment.

For­mer player turned coach Cain Mashego is in the US con­tin­u­ing with his coach­ing stud­ies.

The Vosloorus Tennis Club was one of the projects that ben­e­fited from the part­ner­ship be­tween the Gaut­eng Sports Con­fed­er­a­tion and Gaut­eng Gam­bling Board that cre­ated the fa­cil­ity up­grade pro­gramme last year.

Lelosa ap­pealed to spon­sors to help pro­vide funds to con­tinue to im­prove the fa­cil­i­ties so that the tennis courts can meet pro­fes­sional stan­dards.

Gaut­eng Sports Con­fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Barry Hen­dricks said it brought great sat­is­fac­tion to know that, through these fa­cil­ity up­grades, they were able to re­store hope and help con­trib­ute to­wards the growth of the sport in the prov­ince.

“We are work­ing on the sec­ond round of up­grades now. The need is mas­sive and we are grate­ful that we can help in our own unique way. We want to ap­peal to spon­sors to come for­ward and work with us to up­lift the needy com­mu­ni­ties through sport,” he said.

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

Tennis coach Michael Lelosa and young­sters train at Vosloorus Tennis Club, east of Jo­han­nes­burg

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