18th October, 2011
Tennis Special had a telephone interview with the head coach of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, Rotimi Akinloye. He spoke extensively on the 11th edition of the Lagos Governorâ€™s Cup and other issues about the game.
How do you feel about Nigeriaâ€™s outing at the just concluded All Africa Games in Maputo?
I feel elated because we won medals in both single and doubleâ€™s events at the games. Nigerian players were committed to the national call throughout the All Africa Games.
How will you rate the ongoing Governorâ€™s Cup?
Governorâ€™s Cup is an International Tennis Federation, ITF, tourney, holds annually for the past 11 years. It meets international standard and has been offering Nigerian players the opportunity to compete with their counterparts across the globe. I commend the Lagos State government for its vision and passion for the game.
Do you see any Nigerian player winning this tourney for the first time?
It is not impossible but they have a very slim chance of winning the trophy. To be frank, Nigerian players are not ripe enough to win this tourney. We do have abundant talents but our players do not play regularly in tourneys like their foreign counterparts. And the more you play, the better you become as a player.
No national coach is on ground to monitor these players at the tourney. Why?
The Secretary General of the federation would be the right person to give the reasons. I and other coaches have been part of the tourney for 10 years, but they decided to exclude us this year, so what do you want us to do?
None of us would show up at the venue because we were not invited to come and monitor these players. Our exclusion would only undermine the development of the game in the country.
What do you think the Nigerian players need to do to have good outing at the tourney?
They need to be focused and concentrate on their matches throughout the tourney.