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Teaching tennis in the USA

Local coach secures American gig

Young tennis coach Innocent Tidimane, 23, is currently living his dream in the United States of America (USA) following his appointment as Wagner College tennis head coach back in January.

Tidimane, a beneficiary of the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Elite scholarship, who studied Marketing in San Diego told Voice Sport that he has been in the hunt for graduate assistant posts abroad since his return from San Diego in December 2019 with little success.

“Unexpectedly, a great friend of mine who I met at an International Tennis Federation (ITF) Training Center in South Africa, and now based at Wagner College reached out to me, and informed me about a vacancy for a head coach,” said Tidimane.

The talented coach said his friend went further and recommended her to the college’s authorities.

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“Following her recommendation, I received a call from the college and I sat for a video conference interview. I got the job, and an opportunity to pursue a Masters Degree in Marketing,” revealed an excited Tidimane.

The Bobonong-born native told Voice Sports that he owes his achievements to his mother who introduced him to the sport at the tender age of nine.

“She’s my role model. My mother has always been supportive since the day I learnt to hold a racquet aged nine,” he said.

“I’m still a bit nervous about my new role, but very excited for this opportunity. I lived in the US before so that should help me settle down and deliver what is required of me as the head coach,” Tidimane said rather confidently.

He further said he’s aware of how demanding this role is, and how his position can also benefit other local tennis coaches who may want to pursue a career in the USA.

“I’m up to the task and will also play my part in recommending deserving individuals for a shot at a coaching career in the States,” he said.

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Tidimane’s rich resume includes being ranked 13th in National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) with his partner and Spanish player Alonso Telles, after finishing as runners-up at ITA NAIA Men’s West Regional Championships in 2018.

“In addition, I’m an alumnus of the 2020 Play Tennis Course which taught me a great deal in terms of managing and enhancing players’ skills. This is what will also come in handy in my new role at the college,” he said.

For his part, Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) President Oaitse Thipe said he is excited that Tidimane has been appointed to the prestigious post overseas.

“I’m really happy that he got the job. I’m however not surprised because he’s a very hardworking man. His drive and effort to become one of the best in the country have been evident from an early age,” Thipe said.

The BTA President further said Tidimane’s appointment at the Wagner College should inspire other coaches to dream big.

“This should be the motivation. Everyone should now dream of plying their trade in the USA in the footsteps of one of our best product,” he said.

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