Funds Threaten Ogbe Hard Court Open


There are strong indications that the Ogbe Hard Court International Tennis Championship may not hold as earlier planned.

Tennis Special can report that the championship may not hold as the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, is still searching for sponsors with less than 18 days to the serve off day of the competition.

The tennis tournament, which used to be played at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin  in Edo State, Nigeria, was suspended two years ago when the title sponsor, Guinness Nig. Plc. withdrew its sponsorship.

However, the NTF, in its bid to resuscitate the championship this year, listed it as one of its programmes that will be held   with the hope of getting sponsors for the competition.

Secretary General of the federation, Mbora Ikana, told Tennis Special yesterday that though the NTF is yet to get sponsors, it is still working on the possibility of organising  the competition.

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According to her, “you know the tournament was put on hold because there is no sponsors. We are trying to get one or two sponsors to pick the bills of the championship this year. We are seriously working on how we’ll stage the competition this year.”

She also disclosed that the federation is trying to get in touch with Edo State government so that it  can rally round the federation in the organisation of the international competition next month.

“The federation is hopeful that something will  happen because we don’t want the Ogbe Hard Court to die like that,” said the former secretary of Nigeria Shooting Federation.

Nigerian players are yet to make considerable impact in international tournaments except Edo State-born Jonathan Igbinovia, who in the 2002 edition won one of the Futures and pocketed the sum of  $15,000.

Ghana’s Henry Adejei-Darko (men) and Belgium’s Debbrich Freys (women) won Futures 2 of the 2007 edition of the tournament.

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