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Indiscipline bane of Nigerian tennis, says Ajoge

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Ajoge, who bankrolled the recent ITF Challenge competition, said the players expect others to do simple things without helping themselves

Nigerian tennis players have not been able to rise above mediocrity despite the efforts of both corporate bodies and individuals because they lack the discipline and focus needed to grow in the game. That was the verdict of tennis enthusiast, Edmond Ajoge.

Ajoge, who bankrolled the recent ITF Challenge competition, Tombim Abuja Open that attracted players from more than 18 countries, said the players expect others to do simple things without helping themselves.

“Foreign players came here, and from their wins, they bought tickets to attend the next tournament, but such is not the case with our players. It is only undisciplined players that do not consider it necessary to sponsor themselves to the next tournament from their wins. They’re looking for another man’s money to go for the next tournament. Such is not going to work. That’s indiscipline.

“The foreigners that came here, they made money, you see them buy their tickets for the next tournament. But our players make money, and the next they’re in hotel. That’s the difference between some of the foreigners and our players, and it’s very unfortunate.”

Narrating a bitter experience he had when he sponsored two players and a coach to ITF Futures for two weeks in Egypt, Ajoge said he would concentrate on sponsoring the Tombim Open where he could enjoy himself watching good tennis rather than spending his money on unserious people.

Noting that top tennis players are rarely from rich homes, Ajoge said: “Some of the players that come here from all over the world are from poor homes. Rich people or richmen’s children don’t play tennis, particularly at the professional level.

“Most of us went to school, and we all suffered in school. Everywhere in the world, whatever you want to do in life, you have to suffer for it. But our players want to grab without sweating for it. In other to encourage some of them further, I will continue to sponsor the ITF tournament,” he said.


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