.Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (5th from left) with past winners of the Lagos Governor’s Cup held in Lagos. –
By Ebenezer Osamo
Eyeonthesports can authoritatively report that the annual Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship may not hold this year following the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease, EVD in Lagos state.
This much was disclosed to our correspondent by a top source from one of the organisers of the tournament.
Our impeccable source, who pleaded anonymity, informed that although it is yet to be made public, there are slight chances that the tournament will hold this year.
“Nobody wants to come to Lagos,” the source told eyeonthesports.com.
“We bring players from 200 and above on the ATP World rankings from over 20 countries worldwide every year, and that was the plan this year as well.
“But with the recent security challenges everywhere, nobody is willing to come to Lagos and the tournament has not been given an approval yet.
“We are going to address the issue and ensure that even if the Governor’s Cup doesn’t hold, we shall have another tournament in its place to compensate our local players”, the source told eyeonthesports.com.
Eyeonthesports.com checks at the official website of the International Tennis Federation, ITF, confirmed that the tournament was not enlisted among those noted for the month of October.
Reacting to this development is tournament Director, Prince Wale Oladunjoye, who noted that the scourge of the EVD is affecting other sectors of the nation’s economy and not just tennis.
The Special Adviser to Lagos Governor on Grassroots Sports Development, also stated that although the spread of the disease has been adequately put under control in the state, its effect cannot be washed off quite easily.
“It is a widely-known problem in the country at the moment, so I don’t see it as something new. All we should think about is how to move forward from the scourge.
“The Nigerian team withdrew its athletes from the Youth Olympics and some were also not allowed to compete due to the Ebola outbreak.
“If you (journalists) were one of the sponsors, would you have put your money into a tournament for which players would be absent?” Oladunjoye queried.
The Annual Governor’s Cup, which attracts players from all over the world, and is the only one of its kind in the sub-Sahara Africa, is often held at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, LLTC, Onikan in Lagos in October.
This recent development is going to be a major setback for the country’s tennis, as many Nigerian players and foreign stars who use the tournament to garner ATP points will be disappointed.