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WEEKEND SPECIAL: Nigeria Set To Host Tennis Challenger In 2018

Nigerian players have been assured of a tennis challenger in the coming years, Naija Tennis Special can authoritatively report.

This was revealed by Engr. Ifedayo Akindoju, the recently-inaugurated president of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), during an explosive chat with our correspondent on return from Spain.

Nigeria’s number one male tennis player, Sylvester Emmanuel, in action.

He explained that even though the federation is yet to submit its budget for the year, there are already plans to return Nigerian tennis to the heights that made the players fearful in years past.

The NTF president who is the sponsor of a week-long ITF Futures in Abuja, declared that there will be an 80-100 point challenger in the country as well as other top national tournaments to ensure a rise in quality of tennis being played by Nigerians.

On the areas the federation will be focusing on, he said: “We shall work on four key areas, development of facilities, players, coaches and officials, and this will be driven by sponsorship.

“The zones need to have inputs as there are peculiar problems with each zone. So, we agreed that every representative from each zone should do a proper inventory and know what their zones lack. They are also to suggest the developments for each of their zones.”

The NTF president has assured of more ITF Futures in Nigeria as well as a Challenger Series.

Speaking further, Engr. Akindoju said: “They will also get data of the players, status, and standard; same for the coaches – if they are ITF-certified, and the officials – they should be able to give us ideas of potential sponsors in their zones.

“We will gather these info and bring it to the centre before dealing with them one after the other.”

On the issue of budget submission, the NTF president noted that: “the minister asked us to present our budgets within 90 days, we cannot have it until 6th October for both board meeting and their AGM.”

Then, he explained that tournaments will not be lacking on the NTF calendar in the coming years.

Junior tournaments will soon become a regular in the country with the new administration.

According to him: “For tournaments, they are a lot of national tournaments coming up. We shall continue with the Futures and next year we are looking at having a Challenger which willhave about 80-100 points.

“We have started talking to the ITF Umpire and he has given us things to work on.

“There will be lots of junior tournaments, they are no prize money; just accommodation and feeding. With half a million naira, I don’t see any reason we should not be having it 52 weeks. We are still speaking with sponsors.”

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