January 20, 2016 By Sahr Morris Jr.
Thailand-based Sierra Leonean lawn tennis youngster, Mattu Kamara, has secured qualification to the African Junior Championship (AJC) tournament to be staged from March 8 to 18 in South Africa.
The teenager secured her qualification after her successful performance in reaching the U-16 doubles final together with Linda Eloundou of Cameroon at the just-concluded International Tennis Federation (ITF)/African Junior Championship (AJC) qualifiers in Abuja, Nigeria.
Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Lawn Tennis Association (SLLTA), Yayah Koroma, said out of the three players, Mattu was the only Sierra Leonean that was able to secure qualification berth to the AJC.
“We are pleased that Mattu who has returned back to Phuket Academy in Thailand, where she is based, has successfully qualified for the AJC in South Africa. At the AJC, she will have to compete with players who qualified from East, South and North Africa,” Koroma said, adding that a further successful qualification will take her to the Junior Davis Cup.
The SLLTA scribe further revealed that the youngster is now ranked 5th in West/Central Africa in the U-16 category. In the U-12 category, Sierra Leonean male pair Amza Kabba and Joseph S. Kamara were ranked 10th &11th respectively in West/Central Africa.
On the male pair performance, Koroma said: “They (Amza and Joseph) did compete but their category was not for qualification to the AJC. The U-12 players do not play to qualify to the AJC because the AJC is just for U-14 and U-16 categories. However, they competed to gain ranking.”
He added: “We must as an association do all we can to continue to encourage our young kids – through the Junior Tennis Initiative (JTI) program – to compete in international competitions. The JTI program should be the key to open the development door of tennis in Sierra Leone.”
A total of nine countries – Republic of Benin, Cameroon, DR Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Togo, Mali and hosts Nigeria – took part in the International Tennis Federation (ITF)/African Junior Championship (AJC) qualifiers tournament.