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NTF President Wades In As Female Players Vow To Boycott National Tournament

Engr. Dayo Akindoju, the president of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) has prevented what could have been a national disaster when he dissuaded female tennis players in the country from boycotting national tournaments.

Blessing Anuna, one of Nigeria’s female players based in the United States of America, had rallied the ladies in the country to stay away from the forthcoming national tournament in Lagos over what she described as gender insensitivity on the part of the federation.

In a post she wrote on her Facebook page, Anuna, one of the country’s finest tennis stars when she was still playing locally, insisted that the female players were being marginalized when it comes to prize money for tournaments.

Engr. Dayo Akindoju has appealed to the female players to bear with the federation over the equality of the players during tournaments.

“How long are we going to be denied EQUALITY and UNBIASED TREATMENT along with our male counterparts?” Anuna queried in her Facebook post.

“How long are we going to suffer INJUSTICE and UNFAIRNESS because we are perceived as NOTHING, considered as IRRELEVANT and weaker beings (women)? How long? Until next generation?

“This is our stake on the forthcoming Lagos Tournament: Having approached d player’s representative to air our PAINS, drafted a letter, signed and sent to our authority and nothing changed, rather the feedback is; #WE were not in d initial plan of d tournament; which is JUST FINE and we are not complaining, So many tournaments have been played without us being in the plan which is JUST PERFECT and we are not complaining, #WEareSTILLaliveSURVIVING,” she added.

In the post, she further urged other ladies to boycott the tournament until the federation attends to the plight of the female players.

She wrote: “And please instead of #squeezing us in and #marginalizing us like rifraffs and hopeless people please let it be #ONLY MEN! WE WILL BE JUST FINE and FOREVER FINE!

“Now this is my own stake #LADIES: the total prize money for us Female is #744,000. I beg u ALL pls if d money is d problem I am making an oath and commitment to provide the same #744,000 for us, let us fight this battle once and for ALL PLEASE SISTERS.”

The NTF President in a swift reaction to the post which had already started generating comments from players at all levels.

He commented on the post too, writing: “Dear Ladies, I clearly understand your plight. It will not continue. I am I Dubai attending Isportconnect. We are just starting. Systems and standards are being put in place to ensure that this does not continue.

“For now we are attracting new sponsors to the game. We do not want to discourage them by putting up any form of resistance. When the Tournament standards are set we shall be having NTF 100, 200, 500, 1000 series and the term and prize monies for each category of tournament will be clearly spelt out. Any potential sponsor will know from the beginning what they are getting into.

“You have been patient all this while. We shall get it right please but it may take some time. Bear with us please.”

The players have since calmed down as they await the NTF’s action come 2018 even with the president assuring them of a change in the coming months.

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