Nigerian junior tennis coaches have started reacting to the fast approaching Play Your Age Junior Tennis Championship, stating their inability to get sponsors to attend the tournament.
Nigerian Tennis Live had exclusively reported that the tournament organized by the NTF was to correct the anomalies associated to age cheat in the country, as well as ensure that players do not claim to be ages younger than their real age so that they can win junior championships.
Engr. Ifedayo Akindoju, the president of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), informed emphatically, that players who are caught claiming to be younger than they actually are, risk being banned from playing in the country for four years.
Some junior players displaying their certificates of participation after playing a junior tournament recently organized by a Dubai-based Nigerian player.
And the tournament, he stated, was the first step the federation will be taking to ensure that the new policy holds water.
But the letter sent out by the federation, indicating that only two players from each state would be catered for (in each state) during the 4-day long event, has sent cold shivers down the spine of one the junior coaches, who stated that even though he wants to attend with his boy, he cannot do so because he does not have sponsors.
According to the coach who pleaded anonymity: "The idea of this tournament is one of the things we have been clamouring for in Nigerian tennis and I was really happy when I read about it on your blog.
"However, if the federation is taking care of only two people per state, some of us may not be able to attend which will not be fair on the youngsters who have been looking forward to the tournament since it was mentioned.
"We are appealing to the federation to kindly help us look into this and see how they can accommodate and help facilitate the attendance of more kids.
"The expenses this festive period will make it pretty difficult for some coaches to attend without getting sponsors and the fact that the kids are not being paid after the tournament makes it a huge burden on their parents.
"We plead with our listening president to kindly help look into this issue and help us get a solution to it so that many more people can attend."
The national tournament for 12, 14 & Under, is billed to hold from 16-21 December, 2017 at the Tennis Section of the National Stadium in Abuja.