9th February, 2015
The demise of Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas has been described as a huge loss to the tennis family, P.M.NEWS Tennis Special can reveal.
The tennis aficionados in the country believe that he was such a great man, not just for Nigerian tennis, but sports in general as he devoted his time to its development. They claimed that he is an irreplaceable pillar of sports.
Professor (Mrs.) B. Ikuolayo, a board member of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF said that apart from being a lover of tennis locally, the late financier of the Asoju Oba Table Tennis Championship also spent time and money to travel abroad to see how the sport is being played.
“He was a great lover of sports and devoted most of his life to sports. He was a good man, many has been said about him already, but we cannot just have enough of the things he has done.
“I also met him at a swimming function, which shows how rooted and committed he was to Nigerian Sport. Chief Okoya-Thomas led a good life and was a great pillar for tennis in Nigeria,” she said.
On how much tennis would miss him, the University don noted that, “he has created a deep vacuum which cannot be filled so easily. The entire Nigeria will miss him because of his passion towards tennis.”
Benson Ishicheli, a national tennis coach, also spoke highly of the Knight of England.
He said: “the Baba was a Very jovial person who interacted with people irrespective of their age or status. We shall surely miss him. The way he talks does not carry his age because of his level of humility. He plays a lot when he gets into the club and afterwards, goes to play his tennis.
“When he is done, he goes into a corner with his friends and relaxes. He was always lively. It is a really sad loss for us in the tennis family, but there is little we can do but to accept it.”
President, Nigeria Tennis Federation, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, also eulogised the late Asoju Oba of Lagos, describing him as a man of strong character and integrity.
“Not many Nigerians would spend their hard-earned money travelling abroad to watch tennis, but he did not mind. He was very supportive of our cause at the Federation and was really a delight to be with.
“It is quite sad losing such a great man to death. We all will surely miss him,” he added.