By Paul Erewuba
The Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Tennis Association, Dayo Akindoju has bemoaned the steady decline of grassroots tennis development in the country, saying it is responsible for Nigeria’s inability to replace ageing players.
He said it was not true that corporate bodies are turning their backs on tennis sponsorship, but the inability of those administering the sport to dig deep and let the sponsors see why they should identify with the sport.
Speaking to journalists during the CBN Senior Tennis final in Lagos, Akindoju said the only way to get back to the basics as regards tennis development in the country is to start a new form of awareness from the primary and pecondary schools.
Akindoju, who is seeking to be elected as the President of Nigeria Tennis Federation, said there are still works to be done at the national and grassroots levels of the sport, adding that until that is sorted out, tennis will still be lagging behind.
“These are some of the things we are going to revive, if elected into office. I have what it takes to revive our tennis. What is required are facilities, publicity and sponsorship. Sponsorship has never been a problem as many will want us to believe. But we have to make them cue in and be interested in our course. What we need do is come up with ideas and programmes aimed at reviving the sport. We had the Ogbe Hard Court, the Green Court etc. We will go back to Guinness for sponsorship.
“What we need is complete repackaging. The catch them young programme is no longer there. This is the area we are going into.
People need to work. We have to do things the way it is done at the world level. We have to train and retrain our coaches.
Players need to be developed from the ages of 10, 12, 13, etc. More competitions should be organised and driven by public, private participation. All these are some of the projects I would be backing upon if elected as the President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation.”