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NTF focused on replacing ageing players, says Akindoju


Tennis<br />PHOTO:

Apparently disappointed at the relative ease the country’s players were being eliminated in the ongoing ITF World Tennis Tour M25 events at the Tennis Complex of Abuja National Stadium, president of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), Dayo Akindoju said development of grassroots programme would be the panacea to the problem.

Akindoju said establishment of a functional tennis academy would churn out credible and quality players capable of taking the country’s tennis to global heights.

“We will get back to the top soon with our academies and some grassroots development programmes to produce the Nduka Odizors, Sadiq Abdullahis and David Imonites.

“Very soon, we will have our U8 and U10 as well as U12 in the ITF Circuit from where they will mature to the ITF World Tennis Tour.

“The moment such talents are discovered, there are tennis enthusiasts here that will assist them to any ITF tournament around the globe to improve their chosen career. By the time such players are discovered, our participation in the Davis Cup is certain to be improved, and that will also enable us discover female talents for the Fed Cup, which we as a nation, has not featured,” he said.

Just three players Musa Mohammed, Imeh Joseph Ubon and Sylvester Emmanuel struggled through qualifying series to the main draw of Tombim International ITF World Tennis Tour, the first leg of the three-legged M25 events. All except Emmanuel have been shown the exit.

According to Akindoju, the ITF World Tennis Tour would have been an ample opportunity for the indigenous players to showcase their skills and earn ITF and ATP points without much stress, but they were not disciplined and determined to join the league of successful players; a development he said was responsible for the decision to ensure all players work hard to earn their qualification to the main draw.

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