Cheikh Salif Kante, a senior public relations student originally from Dakar, Senegal, has made history at Florida A&M University. He’s the only African from a HBCU to win a round in the qualifiers of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Men’s All- American Tennis Championships.
Kante transferred to FAMU from Georgia Perimeter Junior College, a nationally ranked Division II school.
Before deciding to come to FAMU, Kante had a lot of schools recruiting him. He was bein looked at by top recruitersop recruiters by top tennis universities such as Clemson, Mississippi State and Georgia State, among others. Kante made decided to come to FAMU based on desire.
“I have a desire to help FAMU win a MEAC championship ring,” said Kante.
Since coming to FAMU, he has made a tremendous effect on the team. Following the 2011-2012 tennis season, he was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of The Year.
“I think he is one of the best players that has ever played for FAMU,” said assistant coach Levan Clarke.
Kante remembers his childhood and said his father is a tennis coach. His dad would make him, as well as his brother, practice a minimum of five hours a day.
“I didn’t like tennis at the beginning and neither did my brother, but it grew on us,” said Kante.
Kante was also asked to play last year in the ITA All-American tournament, but he declined. He was unable to play due to school obligations. His country Senegal asked for his presence in the Africa Nations Cup, a once in a lifetime opportunity. Kante was away from school for a month and became ineligible for the tournament last year.
The 2012 ITA Men’s All-American Tennis Championships Tournament Central was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The annual event took place Sept. 29- Oct. 7 at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center and was hosted by The University of Tulsa.
Kante finished his first round against Albert Wagner from Louisville University and won 6-4, 7-6, 7-5 in the final set. He was unable to finish his second round due to a quad injury and had to retire play against Connor Smith from Ohio State University.
“I was very disappointed about not finishing my second match but making history for myself and my school is an achievement that I will never forget,” said Kante.
Kante graduates in the spring and plans to move back to Atlanta to pursue a career in public relations. He still wants to play tennis and train. Kante wants to participate in Futures, which are tournaments that help build a professional tennis ranking.