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J30 Abuja Aftermath: Five Players Sponsors Should Pay Close Attention To

Nigeria hosted two weeks of J30 Abuja, a junior ITF tournament which expectedly had the host nation having most players in the entries.

As a way of encouraging more player to participate in the competition, the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) slashed the IPIN registration fee for Nigerian players by 50%.

At the end of the two weeks, Nigerian players dominated the event even though they had their foreign counterparts to contend with, including the number 10 junior player from the Asian region.

Seun Ogunsakin, Nigeria’s super talented 14-year-old teenager, won the two legs of the competition while Ohunene Yakubu and Khadijat Mohammed won the first and second legs consecutively in the female category.

Seun Ogunsakin and Ohunene Yakubu

One of the aims of having tournaments such as this, especially for the Nigerian players, is to unearth new talents and boost the chances of the ones who had been previously discovered.

And after the two weeks of back-to-back tennis festival in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital, Nigeria Tennis Live has identified some players who should be courted by sponsors.

1. Ayomide Oduwaye:
This Ogun-born youngster became more prominent after winning silver at the 2023 National Youth Games in Asaba, Delta State, where he lost to Tobi Agboola from the Mambilla Barracks Tennis Club in Abuja.

Oduwaye followed that feat up by defeating top national U-16 player, Henry Aina, in the Boys’ Singles final at the Rock Tennis Foundation national U-16 championship in Abeokuta in January, 2024.

The Rock Tennis Foundation, Nigeria Tennis Live gathered, sponsored the teenager to play the two weeks of the J30 Abuja tournament, will most likely sponsor him to future tournaments.

Ayomide Oduwaye

The youngster had been previously unable to play such competitions due to his academic commitments but after completing his secondary education, it looks like it’s time for Oduwaye to show the world what he mostly capable of doing.

The Nigerian player was featured in one of the videos posted on the ITF Instagram Page, where one of the commentators noted precisely how deadly his forehand is, a weapon which the youngster needs now put to maximum use.

If sponsors are looking for a youngster to invest heavily in, this 15-year-old is a good potential and will give good value for money on the long run. The time is now!

2. Khadijat Mohammed
Unless you are yet to watch this youngster, everybody around already agrees that Nigeria has a gold mine in this budding tennis sensation.

At 14, she seems like the exact export Nigeria needs to show the world how much talent abounds in the country. For someone of her height and stature, and she’s still growing, it appears like the time to spoil this player with every necessary training she requires.

Khadijat Mohammed

She won the 2023 Dala Hard Court championship as a junior player, and even she thought it was not so much of a fight because of the quality of players at the tournament. But she just won her first ever Junior ITF title in Abuja, a show of her meteoric rise.

Spectators were left wanting more whenever she took to the courts, especially as she packs a lot of power in her cross court (or down the line) forehand shot which almost certainly earns her a point whenever she decides to employ it.

The first person who takes advantage of this player’s abilities and invests heavily in her will surely be the luckiest because she has every potential to become world class with her enviable talent.

3. Yahaya Sani Inabo
Yahaya, as this fighter of a player is fondly called by his peers, looks to be in that season where more is being heard or spoken about him.

The Mambilla Barracks Tennis Club player has grown under the watchful eyes of Coach Isiaka Oshioke, and it’s no fluke that the player he admires is 23-year-old Holger Rune, another solid player on the ATP tour.

While most people already know how good Inabo is, not many gave him a chance in some of the matches he played to reach the semifinal and quarterfinal of the two legs of the J30 Abuja events.

Yahaya Sani Inabo

On the strength of his recent performances, this 16-year-old player who started playing at 10 is reaching the peak of his days in the juniors and deserves all the attention to reach the very pinnacle.

He wants to bring the grand Slam to Nigeria some day, and he surely needs all the sponsorships, support and financing he can get to help his dreams come true.

4. Etoro Bassey
This wasn’t Etoro’s first J30 tournament, within and outside the country. In fact, she already participated in a J60 and J100 events in Accra, Ghana, where she could not as much as win a match.

However, the experience of participating in such high profile junior tennis tournaments has toughened our Akwa Ibom-based youngster up and saw her reach her first ever junior ITF final during the recently-concluded J30 Abuja event.

The GEUF Tennis Academy teenage player is the ideal player on the court. Fights when the odds are against her, never drops the shoulder when unforced errors are made, and keeps on going even when her opponent seems to be a lot better.

Etoro Bassey

One of the unusual traits this youngster possesses is the fact that she has no weak serve. If her first serve doesn’t go in, she doesn’t throw in a weaker serve. She goes hard again. Not many players would do that, not even professional players.

Etoro does not stay for too long on the baseline, she’ll rather throw a heavy serve and go to the net to kill off the game. What a talent this youngster is.

During the J30 Abuja event, many eyes were definitely on this player, and we will not be too surprised if we see that she has been snapped up by a willing sponsor and thrown into the fray to garner the much needed experience that’ll show her ‘real face’ to the world.

5. Ikenna Prosper Okonkwo
At 14, Ikenna has a minimum of four good years ahead of him, and has the potential to go ahead and become as successful as he desires.

Even though he is already under the watchful eyes of experienced coaches and tennis experts at the Aurum Tennis Academy, we could not take our eyes off the amazing talent that this player is. What a talent!

This player is as quiet as a dove, but as deadly as a serpent in the way he plays. He takes no prisoners whatsoever, and it was no mistake that the International Tennis Federation featured him alongside his academy mate – Seun Ogunsakin – on the ITF Instagram page.

Ikenna Prosper Okonkwo

Ikenna has everything he needs to prosper in the game of tennis. He has the height, the serve, the techniques, the mentality and the temperament to excel in the game.

Even though he is already attached to an academy, racket-producing, shoes-manufacturing, kits-distributing companies can partner with them to make this young man their ambassador.

Playing at the J30 Abuja competition just gave him away even further, as another youngster waiting to taste superstardom.



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