One of Nigeria’s young tennis players, Mariam Alli-Balogun, is presently seeking funds to complete payment for her scholarship at the Savannah State University, Georgia, USA.
The youngster who had previously applied and gained admission to the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) but was denied visa on three-four different occasions, is pleading with Nigerians to come to her aid.
In a brief chat with Nigeria Tennis Live, Mariam, who got 80% scholarship from the Georgia-based institution, requires about 20% ($7,000) to claim the scholarship in the United States.
But, according to her, this has been a really difficult task as her parents are unable to raise such a huge amount of money.
“I got a scholarship at the Savannah State University, Georgia, USA. I am to resume in January. The scholarship is 80% and I am to pay the remaining 20% which is $7,000 and it has been a problem because that is a lot of funds I’ll have to be paying $7,000 yearly.
“I’ll be paying this amount for four years, it’s a four-year course. My parents have only been able to raise the money for my i-20 because the amount I’m supposed to pay as tuition is about N3.4million.
“We are looking forward to getting help from some members of the Club and some other people that may be interested in sports.
“Fusion Foundation has been the one in charge, going to people, telling them about the scholarship so that they can raise funds for me,” Mariam explained.
On the course of study at the institution, the 18-year-old noted that she will be studying Mass Communication and will be playing college tennis.
She also lamented previous hardships with securing visa even when she got a fully funded scholarship.
According to Mariam: “The first time I got this scholarship, I was denied visa at the Embassy. I reapplied a few more times but they said I was too young and all.
“The third time, I went with my sponsor, but was still denied the visa, the same thing happened the fourth time. So, I’m really hopeful this time around because this is something I really want.
“I really want to play College tennis. The goal was to play professional, but due to funds and how tennis is in Nigeria, it has been very difficult, so, I switched to the option of playing college tennis and I’m hoping that it works out so that I don’t just play tennis for nothing.”
The youngster will be hoping that Nigerians will come to her aid, especially since the scholarship may soon expire.