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Tennis league ends without sponsors

Mon, 24 October 2016 19:42
by Rodney Pienaar

Teams affiliated to the Namibia Tennis Association (NTA) will complete their full league fixture commitments for the 2016 season towards the end of October without any financial assistance from sponsors.
The men’s second league finals matches will conclude the very competitive leagues fixtures of the financially troubled association.
The leagues, which has 150 active players in 22 teams that are competing in five different leagues or playing level categories, survived the season that is played from May to October every year, as plans to get sponsors on board ended in vain, The Villager understands.
“There are no sponsors. Negotiations with major Windhoek-based companies to sponsor the league were not successful and the league will end towards the end of this month,” Robert Riethmueller of the NTA said.
He added that the Namibia Sports Commission did not pump in a single penny in the league as the commission is also facing numerous challenges, and their means and possibilities of supporting the sport code of tennis remains very limited.  
Despite its financial woes the NTA is tasked with huge responsibilities, amongst which falls the conducting of official junior, senior and veteran tennis tournaments; and selecting and organising men’s and women’s tennis teams representing the country in International Tennis Federation (ITF) organized international competitions such as the Davis CUP (DC) for men and FEDCUP for Women.
Other key responsibilities include the organising of the national NTA league and to maintain and improve the NTA tennis park facilities at Olympia as official venues for national and international tennis events and tournaments, The Villager found.
The NTA is also entrusted with the function to ensure broadening of the base of the tennis sport throughout the country by organising training and coaching seminars; and assisting and motivating the formation of tennis clubs in different parts of the country.
“The NTA’s efforts, especially in opening up the tennis sport to formerly disadvantaged members of the community, have been especially successful due to the FNB supported tennis junior development programme,” Riethmueller said.
He added that this programme has in the past years allowed to organise a nationwide school league; a high performance junior tennis centre for talented junior players whose parents and families cannot afford to pay commercial coaching fees and club memberships; and to allow the participation of selected junior players in international junior tennis tournaments in Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.
The Villager understands that National School League will end this weekend, and a majority of the current crop of top junior players in the country has benefitted from this programme.
Riethmueller further noted that all these activities need funds and support, which is difficult to raise and maintain on a sustainable basis.
The tennis leagues are expected to start again in May, and NTA hopes to get sponsors on board for the league to be more active and attract more players and teams to take part in the league.