*15-year old Lizzy Pam, a UK-based Nigerian player who represented Plateau State, returns a serve during the tennis event of the National Youth Games held in Abuja last month. She is one of the rookies that NTF plans to groom this year. –
By Ebenezer Osamo –
As part of plans to ensure that Nigerian tennis moves beyond its present sordid state, the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, will now focus on developing the upcoming players.
NTF President, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, said the body will pay more attention to building the nation’s tennis from its base in the New Year.
Ndanusa, told eyeonthesports.com that the future of Nigerian tennis lies in the junior players, and as such, they will get more attention this time around.
According to him,”Tennis in Nigeria is in a state where we need more developmental programmes than we have had in the past.
“The more established players have done well in the past but we will now focus on the junior players to ensure that the sport is revived this year”.
The Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, President further hinted that NTF is planning to tour about ten different countries this year to expose the young players and hone their skills further.
He maintained that wheelchair tennis will also form part of the Federation’s key plans for the New Year, noting that the disabled players have been ‘starved’ of top tennis actions for about a year.
“As part of our plans to make this year different from the previous years, the junior players will be touring no fewer than ten countries to give them more exposure.
“We are also developing some marketing strategies to attract major sponsors who will help bankroll our tournaments”, he explained.
He added that, “Wheelchair tennis will enjoy our attention this year as well since the players have not been exposed to top tennis actions for some time.
“Every major national tournament in the country will feature wheelchair tennis soon. I can assure tennis lovers that we are more driven than ever to move this country’s tennis forward”.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s number one male tennis player, Clifford Enosoregbe, has declared that the players don’t know what to expect from the Federation.
Enosoregbe, who made this disclosure to eyeonthesports.com, noted that while the players are always expectant, the NTF has not done much to make the players happy.
“We don’t know what to expect from the NTF because we are not sure of the package they have for us.
“Although we always expect the usual tournaments throughout the year, and I hope the officials do more for the us so that we can get better”, the Davis Cup player offered.