NCC League gets six new investors as top stars collect N.3m sign-on fees
The NCC Tennis League has attracted six new teams’ sponsors for the 2019 edition, just as the top 10 players, men and women, are guaranteed N300, 000 each as sign-on fees from promoters.
Speaking at the just concluded CBN Championship in Abuja, the director of the International Tennis Academy (ITA), organisers of the event, Godwin Kienka, said some of the new investors include the Dala Hard Court Incorporated, which owns and runs the ‘age-long’ Dala Hard Court Championship in Kano, Team OAK, which will be based in Abuja and Team Tovie playing out of Lagos. Three others with home bases in Makurdi, Aba and Enugu are yet to decide on team names.
Meanwhile, teams have started the race to sign-on the top 20 players with some of them attracting as much as N300, 000 in addition to the full range of tennis equipment.
Team Leadway Assurance appear to be the most attractive bride going by feelers from the players.
Joseph Imeh, immediate past No.1, said the NCC Tennis League is the best thing to happen to sports in Nigeria in recent times.
“See how many people (new players) are coming to the game. Most of us have relocated our parents from abacha (one roomers) to flats and set up small businesses for our mothers. Go and ask others,” Imeh, who was runner-up in the men’s doubles at the CBN Championship said.
The ITA said it was hoping for an early start this year in anticipation of more applications from teams as the tennis league was “spreading like wild fire,” fueled by the attendance of the 2018 finals by NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta and the then Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung.
“The elections and the transition may have slowed things down but we are standing on the promise of the EVC who promised to “continue to pour resources into the project” which he noted was “clearly empowering our youth and pointing them in the right direction.”
The NCC Tennis League, the first of its kind in Africa, offered N7 million to the champions, N5 million to the runners-up, N3 million to third place and N2 million to the fourth place.