INSPIRED by world class champion, Roger Federer and Zimbabwe tennis legendary, Byron Black, nine-year-old, Tashinga Mtisi, oozes youthful zeal to play for Zimbabwe and the world. Tashinga who is in Grade Four at Mutare Junior School and plays under Mantas Tennis Academy was seeded as number five player at the tournament’s Green-ball category played in Harare recently.
Under the professional tutelage of Mantas coach, Vincent Nyatoti, Tashinga told Post Sport that he started playing tennis at the age of seven, having passed through the Mantas Academy courts at Mutare Girls’ High School several times and emulated friends, Jones Lucas and Tendai Makunike doing what they know best.
“I am serious about tennis now and would like to play like Federer or Byron Black. I love English Language and works hard on it so that when I travel around the world playing tennis I won’t have problems with communication,” said the young upcoming tennis ace.
“Thinking is important when playing tennis. Power and energy, yes, but you need to be smart to outplay your opponent. It is more about the mind than the skill,” he said.
Tashinga says he looks forward to the Mantas Open in November and New Winners Tournament in December.
“I can’t wait. Tennis is not an easy game. It is difficult, but I am ready to climb the mountains to the top,” said the Mutare Junior pupil.
What is critically important about this story of talent at nine and many others is how the revised education curriculum allows learners to pursue both academic and co-curricular learning areas of interest and ability. This new curriculum has opened up avenues of exploitation in the direction of personal interest and ability.
Children as young as Tashinga are beginning to practically carve career paths at an early age unlike the previous school dreams of ‘I want to be a pilot, doctor, engineer’ kind of thing that always fizzled into thin air as beautiful wishful thinking.