Francis Nyamutsamba Sports Reporter

The stage is set for what promises to be an exciting Davis Cup tie against Romania.

Zimbabwe arrived in Romania earlier in the week and has been quietly preparing for what is a sink or swim encounter which will determine whether the Zimbabwe Davis Cup side will retain their status in the Euro/Africa Zone Group II. 

The last time Zimbabwe met Romania was back in 2000, a period in which the Davis Cup side boasted of top players such as Byron and Wayne Black as well as doubles specialist Kevin Ullyet.

Zimbabwe faced Romania on the back of a 3-2 defeat to the United States resulting in the local Davis Cup side having to battle for its place in the world group courtesy of play offs.

Defeat to Romania, however, led to Zimbabwe being relegated into the Euro/Africa Zone Group I, marking a downward spiral in the country’s fortunes on the international arena.

Nineteen years after losing to Romania, the Zim Davis Cup team faces the same opponents with defeat to Romania again resulting in Zimbabwe being relegated, this time from Euro/ Africa Zone Group II.

With Zimbabwe aware of the threat posed by Romania who entered the Euro/Africa Zone Group II draw as the highest ranked nation, non-playing captain Gwinyai Tongoona is hoping the Zimbabwe side will stir some upsets.

“We have been here training, getting used to the courts. The training sessions have been going on well and the guys are looking sharp, the guys are ready they are pumped up.

“Obviously we are underdogs here, but the boys are ready to go out there and fight for every point and fight for every match,” said Tongoona.  

The Zimbabwe Davis Cup side is made up of fairly experienced players with Takanyi Garanganga and Benjamin Lock expected to be key players in the singles.

In the doubles Benjamin and Courtney lock are expected to team up and reproduce some of the form they have exhibited on the ITF circuit.

Mehluli Sibanda is the other Zimbabwean player to have travelled to Eastern Europe for the crucial Davis Cup encounter against Romania.