Johannesburg - 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 a few days ago.
Despite playing in terrible conditions – cracked courts and a shortage of funds being the main problems – the club has continued to produce stars.
Over the years, they have not only represented Ekurhuleni, but also South Africa internationally.
Showcase their talents
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.
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 on Saturday.
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.