Ifedayo Akindoju, President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), on Tuesday, in Abuja, disclosed that the Federation was preparing to focus on grassroots development of the game in the country.
Akindoju told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in an interview that the Federation was set to organise competitions for Kids, cadets and Junior players, as one of basic ways to boost the participation of players in the game.
“One of the basic areas of need for tennis is in increasing the participation of tennis players from age five, six to age ten,” he said.
The president said that the federation had, therefore, decided that the way to go in grassroots development was to boost the participation age of tennis players from all over the country.
“We are going to involve tennis in states, different association’s of tennis, and tennis clubs, to take responsibility for the new development initiative”, he said.
Akindoju said that the federation would also ensure that it re-introduced the game to primary schools and secondary schools, especially the junior secondary schools, across the country.
“We will give priority attention to the development of junior players because they are the future of the game. It is the only way to go, we don’t have a choice, and the only way to go is to stay with junior tennis development in the country.”
“We need to also ensure that there are developmental programmes at the grassroots for players to grow from junior to transition finally to professional level,” the President said. That is why we are coming out with a slogan: ” Tennis back to states,
He added that they would be looking out for more sponsors, in order to grow the federation’s visibility.
“We need them (sponsors) to help support us in the area of equipment, getting players rackets, mini nets, clothing, shoes and balls, the basic things they need to play tennis with.
“We will be sourcing all over the world for them (sponsors) even at both the national and international levels, and on how to distribute the items and funds to the different states in the country, ” he said.
He said the distribution to the states was imperative because the states would have be involved in promoting tennis in all the institutions, primary, secondary up to the universities in their environments. That is why we are coming out with a slogan: “Tennis back to states”.
“This will serve as a new initiative, new development, a fresh approach for the new board”, he said.
Another area of focus for the federation would be to work on how to improve on tennis facilities all over the country, Akindoju said.
“We are trying to improve the facilities too all over the country, so as to get things balanced and when standard facilities were in place, we will be able to win medal outside the country,” he added.