Thursday, 7 June 2018

Dearth Of Tournaments: NTF President Reveals Key Challenges, Promises Improved Package

Engr. Dayo Akindoju, President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) has revealed the major reason tournaments have been difficult to come by in the past few months.

The Nigerian players have been left bewildered over the federation's inability to organize a tournament in the first five months of the year after so many promises had been made at the start of the new administration.

Nigerian Tennis Live observed that the players were initially hurt about the move by the organisers of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Senior Open - the traditional year opener - to host the competition in Abuja as against its usual hub in Lagos. But they soon got over it and were looking forward already.

Engr. Akindoju believes things are getting better in the coming months.
Their hopes have, however, been shattered multiple times, with the players not even sure of what to believe about the tournament anymore.

Our correspondent decided, therefore, to take the NTF President up on these challenges by the players which has seemingly demoralized the few ones who have been training without any tournament.

He told Nigerian Tennis Live in an interview, that he has decided to stop talking about the federation's plans because of the disappointment of getting the sponsors to fix precise dates for their tournaments.

"Honestly, I know that the players are really worried, I am too. The tournaments have been almost concluded with these sponsors, but you know, when the money is not yours, you cannot determine what happens.

"The challenge now is to get these sponsors to conclude on their plans and share with us so we can make it public.

"Honestly, there are tournaments which have nearly been concluded, but it is difficult for me to keep talking about them now because the ones we've spoken about are yet to materialize and this makes it appear as if we're not doing anything but talk," Engr. Akindoju explained.

Asked if the NTF does not have other plans save for the CBN Open this period, the sponsor of the Dayak Tennis Championship was quick to reveal other plans in the pipeline which have been stalled for several reasons.

He said: "For instance, there are serious plans for a tournament to be held in Calabar before the end of June, but I didn't want to mention before because the CBN Open has been stalling for about a month now and I can understand the players' frustrations.

"After the World Cup as well, some other plans of ours should materialize as one of the sponsors of a tournament has something to do with the Mundial. So, when they return, we can have their part of the sponsorship.

"There's also the Abuja and Lagos Majors which would have started if not for the same challenge of having the sponsor specify a date for the commencement."