Newsletter no 8 prepared by Mike Dunk:
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The notice for the meeting has been sent to all clubs but just as a reminder, the meeting details are as follows;
Date: 18 August 2010
Venue: Old Edwardian Club, 9th Street, Houghton
Time: 19h00 A cash bar will be available.
We urge all clubs to send a representative as this is the occasion, not only for us as the executive to tell you what has happened, but also for you to air your views.
We look forward to seeing you at Old Eds on 18th.
Starting this weekend we have our Mini Series which will culminate with the finals on Sunday 15th August. This is an opportunity for you to see the up and coming talent that we have and to see the future of our Province in action. The tournament will be staged at Ellis Park.
We are pleased to say that we are busy doing some much needed maintenance work there. Some of the courts are being resurfaced and others will follow suit when the respective funds become available. Some of the roads will be repaired and also the back drops behind some of the courts have been repaired and repainted.
These things cost money and can only be attended to as and when funds become available. We hope that by the time the Open Senior tournament takes place in October, the whole complex will have had a “make over” and be pleasing on the eye once again.
There have been many hours spent over the past few months by an enthusiastic group from Soweto trying to resuscitate tennis. Many years ago there was vibrancy about tennis in Soweto, which sadly dissipated due to many factors that are well known to most of us.
Now thanks to the initiative of Mpho Diale, the Phoenix is rising.
Mpho, himself, was a former promising junior in the 1980s. He was with the then Southern Transvaal junior squad rubbing shoulders and practising with the likes of Wayne Ferreria, Grant Stafford and Marcus Ondruska, before being awarded a scholarship to Hampton University in Virginia.
He played NCAA tennis for the college during his three years at the University where he qualified with a BSc degree majoring in Economics and Finance. Sadly, an injury to his left knee preventing him from trying his hand on the professional circuit along with Wayne and Grant.
However, this did not dampen his enthusiasm for the game and remembering how the game was in Soweto he has made a tremendous effort to rekindle that spark. That spark is now turning into a solid flame which, with help from the outside, will burn brightly for us all to see in the years ahead.
He has been assisted in his efforts by our Vice President, Wires Zondi, and so far clubs in Orlando West, Meadowlands and Protea have been formed. Along with the magnificent Arthur Ashe Centre which now boasts 16 courts, there are now four clubs up and running.
The Centre has two full time coaches in Oupa and Khotso.
The Soweto Tennis Association has been formed to control and monitor the clubs, and they in turn will fall under our Association, and be part of tennis as a whole in the Province.
He started an organization called I CAN and during the recent school holidays they held tennis camp for the children, and such was the initial interest and success, that they are now making that venture into a full time tennis academy for the children.
They have received assistance from Wilson in the form of equipment and clothing and also have been able to raise certain funding from commerce.
Mpho says he is “encouraged with the interest shown and would like to ensure that with the increase in the game itself born out by the recent up turn in the sale of tennis equipment, we can move forward. The children are very enthusiastic but I realize there is still a long way to go.”
We, as the Executive, will ensure that they receive every encouragement to make a success of this venture. It was originally Arthur Ashe himself who had the vision all those years ago to ensure that every child in Soweto had the opportunity of playing the game, and now people like Mpho have taken up the challenge.
All the clubs playing the August league should have received their fixtures and relevant information. After years of entries dwindling for the Ladies Wednesday league we have reached the unfortunate situation where only 3 teams entered. Perhaps next year we may be able to revive it!