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Yahaya Sani Inabo
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Yahaya Sani Inabo, The ‘Barrack Boy’ Turning Heads In Abuja

His gangling manner of movement surely makes Yahaya Sani Inabo look very frail and harmless, but the same cannot be said of him when he’s on the court.

This teenager from the Mambilla Barracks Tennis Club which sits pretty just behind the magnificent Aso Rock in Nigeria’s federal capital, has become a tennis sensation in Nigeria.

Mambilla Barracks Tennis Club

While people already knew what he was capable of doing, his exploits at the recently concluded J30 Abuja events have shown that he is even capable of more, and his name was on people’s lips.

For someone who started playing tennis at the age of eight, his understanding of the game and his attitude are quite enviable and all of these are in no way, thanks to his coach Isiaka Oshioke.

“The player I first saw, who was also young like me, was Tobi Agboola. I loved the way he was playing even though he was also young.

“I started picking balls first before my coach gave me racket, shoes, socks, tennis wears, everything. That was how I started playing tennis in 2016,” the ever-smiling Inabo told Nigeria Tennis Live during a conversation.

Yahaya Sani Inabo

READ ALSO: SEALED! ITF Confirms Another Two Weeks Of J30, J60 In Abuja

A little after two years after picking up the rackets to play for the first time, the Barrack Boy already entered for his first tournament.

As he recalls: “The first major tournament that I won was the Mambilla Tennis Club tournament, I didn’t expect to win but my coach encouraged me to play.

“I just discovered that I was playing well and I won. I beat Ahmed Abdullahi.

“There was also another grassroots tournament here in Abuja. I was supposed to play U-10 but I was pushed to play U-12. And I defeated the players in that category and I was very very happy because they’re not even my age mates at all”.

Yahaya Sani Inabo

Inabo, son to a retired Master Warrant Officer, is always proud of his roots, his foundational club – the Mambilla Tennis Club – and speaks highly of what his coach has helped them achieve over the years.

“What I like about the Mambilla Tennis Club is that they’re very disciplined, organized and encouraging that’s why everybody there respects our coach so much.

“They encourage us academically too. They talk to us about our education and they pay our fees to go to school,” he explained.

READ ALSO: Savage Set To Become First Ever Nigerian To Play Para-Standing Tennis

Mambilla Barracks Tennis Club

His elder brother, Saidu, is Inabo’s biggest critic and fan. He told Nigeria Tennis Live that he has a strong belief in his immediate younger brother, that’s why he always ensures that he watches all his matches.

According to him: “He’s a very good player. I believe he can make it. Whenever he’s playing, and he’s focused, he’ll win any match.

“Anytime he’s playing, I make sure I’m there. Even when I’m not there, I make video calls to advise him on what to do”.

Saidu also spoke about how proud their dad is of their growth in tennis. He said: “My dad is seriously happy because when we came to the Barracks in 2010, my dad put us in the football academy but we saw the tennis court, and we went there because we admired their style.

“I called Yahaya and told our dad about it. Our coach took us from when we were very young and helped us. Our dad saw our consistency, and encouraged us to go even further.

Yahaya Sani Inabo

“The more the progress they saw, the more the support for us to keep playing”.

As a Nigerian Inabo is proud when he watches players like Bulus Christopher, David Ekpenyong and Abubakar Yusuf, because, according to him: “their balls are usually heavy. And if you don’t calm down, you can’t see it”.

READ ALSO: J30 Abuja: What I Learnt From Yahaya – Fu Wang Choi

However, his favourite player is “Holger Rune. I love the way he plays, his loading, his serve, and he’s level headed. I love it when he plays against Djokovic”.

Our 16-year-old youngster may just be ranked 1306 in the recently released Junior ITF rankings – his highest ever, but he is daring to dream, and wants to bring a Grand Slam title home.

He said: “My ultimate goal with tennis is to win a grand slam. It is very possible because to me, if I have everything – the facilities, balls, rackets, I’ll push myself.

“When I’m on the court, the only thing on my mind is to never give up, I never give up.

“I always think, nobody is rushing me, so I always want to take my time”.


  1. Congratulations my boy., the sky is your stepping stone . may Allah fulfils your dream. From your uncle Rabo


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