One of Nigeria’s most outstanding junior coaches, Abel Ubiebi, has voiced out on what he thinks the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) should do to better the fortunes of the local players and the coaches.
In an exclusive chat with Nigerian Tennis Live, Coach Abel as he is fondly called, noted that the addition of another ITF Futures does not seem like a bad idea, he however, asked that the money could be channeled into sponsorship of local junior and senior tournaments.
Recall that the NTF President, Engr. Dayo Akindoju hinted on the addition of another ITF Futures to the five already on ground, with the hope of getting Nigerian players more exposed to the circuit as professional players.
|Coach Abel wants the NTF board to look into sponsorship of more local tournaments for both junior and senior players.|
But Coach Abel, who agreed that the ITF Futures is a good idea, believes that Nigeria needs more developmental programmes that will help discover the young ones and nurture those that are growing already.
“Let’s keep the five we have now for as long as we want. Money or any sponsorship that is meant for futures or gotten for futures should be used for local tournaments both the senior and juniors.
“Let’s have more locals with more money, the more the locals, the more we are preparing our players for the futures, the more we are preparing them to win some (if not all) of the five futures we have for now.
“Let the money be redirected for developmental programme,” the certified PTR trainer began.
Speaking further, the Chief Coach at the ACES Tennis Academy which has produced the likes of teenage sensation, Oyinlomo Quadri and budding national star, Christopher Bulus, wants the money for the Futures to be directed to grassroots development.
|More grassroots programmes will aide the players’ abilities to win Futures.|
According to him: “This present board should know that most of our future champions are from humble backgrounds who need sponsorship and support to forge ahead, they should help to use their network to get sponsorship and contract for the identified ones.
“This present board should think and act fast on how we can look inward (like I said in an interview on our coaches), to see how if possible, to start an academy, even if it means where our players can grind and polish their skills.”
He argued further that even though the idea of adding to the five weeks on ground seems appealing, it should be done at a later time because he thinks it amounts to “putting THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE.”
“If the present board wants to encourage constant sponsorship, they should go local because by the time the sponsors don’t see Nigerians winning any of the futures for a while, I am very sure they will be discouraged! And this may make them to withdraw their sponsorship.
“If we have more locals but at the junior and senior level, be it every week, it’s not too much, that is when we shall see the result and impact that is expected when it’s time for Futures.
|With the right environment, our players can be among the best in the world.|
“If we developed our own, we don’t need to look for players or parents with dual nationals to play for us. They are lucky to be in a better environment, let’s make our own environment better too and see if those with dual citizenship will not run cap in hands to beg to play for Nigeria instead of us begging them,” the visibly worried coach explained further.
He finally gave some tips on how to make Nigerian tennis grow fast, thus: “My slogans to make our tennis grow now and fast is; Grassroot programmes, More local tournaments for both juniors and seniors, Help the identified juniors to get sponsors, Get an academy on ground now with planned workable goals and schedule, The coaches on ground are VERY GOOD to grind our players when the environment is comfortable.”