NAIROBI, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Hosts Kenya and Namibia surprised regional bigwigs to qualify for Europe/Africa Zone Group II in 2019 after winning the Group III tournament in Nairobi, which had attracted 13 teams.
The two sides were not expected to secure the promotion with top seeds Nigeria and Benin having the upper hand with experienced players.
However, as the seven-day tournament ended in Nairobi, it was Kenya and Namibia that clinched the ticket to Group II of the David Cup tournament.
"I am proud of your performance. You have shown your ability having promised before the tournament to deliver. To qualify for Europe/Africa Group II will lift out status as a country and promote tennis locally," Kenya captain and Coach Rosemery Owino, said Monday in Nairobi.
Kenya's top player Ismael Changawa however, warned the players that they will need to put up their best show to remain relevant in the top cadre of the competition.
"We must stay in Group II and see the dreams of our legendary players like Paul Wekesa actualized. But for the moment it is good to bask in the glory and live the dream of Kenya playing at the World Group stage," Changawa said.
Having lost to Zimbabwe at the same stage of the competition 12 months ago, Kenya broke the jinx to end their exile from Group II with top class performance taking advantage of their home supporters to force their way to the top. It was first time Kenya was hosting the Davis Cup since 30002.
Kenya beat top seed Benin 2-1 after Sheil Kotecha's secured a 6-4, 6-4 win over Delmas N'tcha but saw Benin's Alexis Klegou defeat Kenya's Ismael Changawa 7-6, 6-4.
The match had to be settled in the doubles in which Changawa teamed up with Ibrahim Kibet to overcome Felix Hounkpevi and Klegou 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
Namibia also celebrated promotion following a 2-1 triumph over Nigeria. Nigeria made the perfect start as Sylvester Emmanuel thrashed Jean Erasmus 6-1, 6-2 but the Namibians leveled the tie after Christian Paul (Nigeria) was forced off injured, losing to Tukhula Jacobs 6-1, 3-2.
In the doubles, Erasmus and Jacobs joined forces to overcome Emmanuel and Joseph Imeh Ubon 7-6, 6-4. Namibia finished top of Pool B.
Mozambique, meanwhile, won the fifth-place play off courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Cameroon, while the seventh-place play off was won by Algeria following a 2-0 win against Rwanda.