By Ebenezer Osamo –
As part of its contribution to carrying out a holistic development of Nigerian tennis, the International Tennis Academy, ITA, has sent four Nigerian coaches to the Clarke Francis Tennis Academy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to update their coaching knowledge.
The coaches who have been at the Clarke Francis Tennis Academy in Dubai since last year are Bolaji Olawepo, Kehinde Alade, Ambrose Ajoga and Samuel Omoile.
According to Godwin Kienka, Director of the Academy, the idea behind sending the coaches to the Academy is to ensure that when they return, they can help tennis grow to the highest level in Nigeria.
Mr. Kienka, a former international official of the ITF, also noted that with the consistent rise of the juniors over the years, he expects a huge need for coaches who can take the youngsters to the next level.
He said: “it is just one of the ways we are trying to build the tennis programme in the country.
“The junior players have been training and competing, and we have all noticed the improvements over the years. However, you cannot train ‘players for the future’ with coaches that are not knowledgeable.
“Our partnership with Clarke Francis afforded us the opportunity to send those coaches there, to enable them acquire a good knowledge of the game and come back stronger at some point as Coach Babatunde Abe, who came back from the United States, has done to help with the building of tennis in Nigeria.
“You can see the difference that Coach Abe made with Moses Michael, who won the Lagos Governors Cup last year under the Edmund Ajoge tennis programme”.
Mr. Kienka, a former journalist with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, also added that if tennis must reach the desired heights in the country, a holistic approach has to be applied.
“Really, you cannot build one aspect in isolation of others. That’s why we are partnering with the Nigeria Tennis Federation to carry out a rounded rebuilding of our tennis; the players, coaches, administration and tournaments. That way, we can be bold enough to say our tennis is on the right path for explosive growth”, he explained.