COSMOS Tennis Academy co-founder, Rantsane Monare, is out to revive the sport which has been on a downward spiral in the last few years.
A former tennis player himself, Monare and his partner, Thabiso Rabasotho, in February this year decided to invest in the development of the sport by opening the academy.
Currently based at the Lesotho Lawn Tennis Association (LLTA) courts, the academy is working with children from six years old.
Monare this week told the Lesotho Times that they opened the academy after seeing the downward trend which tennis has been experiencing over the years.
“We have watched the sport that we grew up loving dearly literally dying and we decided to rescue it,” Monare said.
“The best way to go about that was to start a developmental structure hence we decided to start this academy. Our primary mission is to develop professional tennis players while building well rounded athletes under a healthy and enriching social environment.
“In pursuit of this mission, the academy is dedicated to create an environment that is fun and educational; enriching both physically and mentally while at the same time creating a big pool of tennis players.”
Starting off with just six players in February, the academy now has 35 players and Monare said the response has been overwhelming.
He said they have received immense support from parents who were keen to have their children engaged in sporting activities.
The academy currently has two coaches, Mahao Matete and the co-founder, Rabasotho. However, Monare said they would increase the numbers in line with the increase in players.
Monare, who is an International Tennis Federation (ITF) certified coach, said they had also been enjoying support from both the LLTA and the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC).
“So far, we have been enjoying great support from both the LLTA and LSRC who have been providing the academy with technical guidance.”
The players at the academy have daily schedules while Fridays are reserved for competitions, Monare said.
They are also planning to host a tournament before the end of the year. The tournament will culminate in the selection of a team to be enrolled in different tennis circuits.
“We need to have a team that will start playing in the ITF mini circuit which will help them in their rankings. So, in preparation for that, we are planning to host a mini tournament before the year ends.”
The academy is being sponsored by Taiwanese sports equipment company, Prokennex, with balls. The academy’s activities are also evaluated by Tennis South Africa (TSA) developers.
One of the challenges being faced is the over concentration of tennis activities in Maseru. However, Monare said they would soon start touring different districts across the country to promote the sport.