18th December, 2012
If you call the third quarter of the ongoing year, a quarter of lamentations then you will not be wrong as it witnessed series of complaints about the administration of Nigerian tennis and the pains being suffered by the players.
One of the players, Martins Abamu, a junior player complained bitterly that he was not proud playing tennis as there was nothing to show for playing for the country.
According to him, it would be very hard for a junior player like him to get to the top as there has been little or no encouragement from administrators of the racket sport.
“It is very glaring that junior players are not given the chance to grow because there is no developmental programme,” he lamented.
Abamu, who had represented Nigeria in the Africa Junior Championship, AJC threatened during an interview with Tennis Special that he might be forced to dump Nigeria in the nearest future if the situation does not change.
The reasons Nigerian players lack sponsorship was also a subject of discourse in the quarter under review. The players complained that the society has been responsible for the neglect they suffered from the sponsors.
Fatima Abinu, Nigeria’s number one female player said sponsors usually look out for returns on their investment on the players, adding that with the way Nigerian society is structured, it is hard for sponsors to get value on the money they invest on local players.
One of the top male players, Abdulmumini Babalola, said the attitude of the officials and corruption have driven away the sponsors from Nigerian tennis. He noted that no sponsor would put his hard-earned money into a system that has been badly managed and enmeshed in corruption.
National Coach, Rotimi Akinloye, in his own view, blamed the players for not packaging themselves very well to attract individual and corporate sponsors.
“No sponsor will like to associate with bad products. Nigerian players are products that cannot be sold at the world stage. Their ranks are low on the global scene,” he said.