By Ebenezer Osamo
The effort put in place to ensure that top Nigerian players excel in this year’s Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis tournament did not yield much fruit, as they did not turn up at the ‘close’ camp organised to prepare them before the championship commenced on Friday.
The Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF and Local Organising Committee, LOC of the tourney, had organised a camping exercise to help Shehu Lawal, Clifford Enosoregbe, Henry Atseye, Sanni Adamu and the other top players who are yet to really impress in the international tennis tournament.
According to eyeonthesports.com investigation, the top ten players who were invited to the camp on the bill of the NTF and the LOC of the tourney, gave one excuses or the other for not attending the training sessions, where the national coaches would have tutored them, and also give them the panacea to reducing the dominance of foreigners at the event.
One of the coaches; Benson Ishicheli, who spoke with our correspondent, disclosed that some players attended the camping exercise of the ITF-rated championship. But he noted that the top players expected at the camp did not attend, revealing that some of them requested to train on their own, while the others preferred to train with their sparring partners.
Benson further disclosed that the camp was not ‘close’ as reported in the media. He said: “We were supposed to have Shehu Lawal, Clifford (Enosoregbe), Henry (Atseye), Sanni (Adamu), and many other top players in camp but they exempted themselves and opted to train individually.
“Only Samuel Omoile attended the training camp after he featured in an exhibition match held in Port-Harcourt. Apart from him, we did not see any senior player.”
Coach Benson also added that, “The camp was not really a closed exercise, it was mainly for those preparing for the Governor’s Cup. However, we had many young people who came around to train for the championship.”
The only top player who utilized the camping facility, Samuel Omoile, told eyeonthesports.com that he is in camp to respect the wishes of the Federation. “I came to Lagos straight from Port-Harcourt but no other top player is here. So, I have been training with the young players in camp.
“Despite the training sessions which may not have been adequate, I still hope to do well at this year’s championship” Omoile explained.
Meanwhile, the trials are expected to be concluded on Sunday before the tournament proper, which will feature players from about 50 countries serves off on Monday.