The national tennis team that comprised youngsters who were making their debut at the Africa Davis Cup in Congo, Brazzaville performed beyond expectations. The team finished the tournament in style beating Congo 3-0 on Saturday.
Botswana finished in second place after four matches with one loss and three wins. The coach, Petrus Molefhe, told Sport Monitor that he could not say much about how the team prepared for the tournament. He said even during his playing days, preparations were always a challenge.
“The preparations were not what one would have expected. We could have trained more, but that was impossible due to the outbreak of COVID-19. But looking at how the players competed, you would not believe that we only had nine days in camp and one player had only two days,” he said.
Molefhe said the other player was not in the camp and joined the team at the airport en route Brazzaville. Tsholofelo Tsiang and Tshepo Mosarwa were the only two players who were available for the entire nine days.
The other team members were Denzel Seetso and Thato Holmes. Molefhe explained that he invited other local players to train with the team so that they could get a variety of players to enhance the training.
“In short, the preparations were not ideal, but I tried to not let that bother me or the players especially if there was nothing we could do about it. Money was another issue which played part in the delay as far as I was told.
It is always ideal to get the best preparation, but that hardly ever happens in my sport so I have learnt to roll with the punches,” Molefhe said.
He explained that he gave his players three areas, which they would need to improve on every day and he promised them that if they could improve on these areas everything would take care of itself. The three areas are mental, tactical and focus. “We started working on this in Gaborone, but when we got here it was different because it was in a proper event.
So on their first matches I felt they were scared to trust and buy in what I had to advised through the three areas so we lost our first tie 3-0 against Namibia,” said the coach.
Molefhe said the biggest lesson learnt at the tournament is that coaches spend too much time on athletes technical ability and do not do much on their tactical and mental strength.
“I would be writing a report to the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) and the athletes coaches suggesting they have a look at my findings.
All in all, we were able to improve day after day especially our three areas which we had as our goal to improve and trust in,” Molefhe said. He noted that Botswana is not too far from most of the top nations in Africa.