Kienka urges stakeholders to reposition tennis to attract sponsors
The Director, International Tennis Academy, Godwin Kienka, who is also the coordinator of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Open Team Tennis Championship, has urged stakeholders to reposition the sport so that it can attract more sponsorship.
Speaking after the Blue Group decider between Team Tombim and Civil Defence on Sunday in Abuja, Kienka noted that tennis in Nigeria was developing in leaps and bounds, adding that every sport could attract sponsorship if well packaged to win the confidence of individuals sponsors, corporate or multinationals.
“Now we have a good product like the tennis league; when your product is good, sponsors will come. The NCC is trying to empower and engage the youths through sports.”
Kienka explained that the Tennis league sponsored by NCC was conceived to fill a gap in the Nigerian tennis calendar.
According to him, “before now, we had two tournaments per annum when a country like Spain has over 244 tournaments at the senior levels and over four hundred tournaments for Juniors. We have a huge number of juniors coming to the seniors, so there was a gap that needed to be filled.
“We thought that a league like this that would introduce 30 weeks of tennis will keep them busy.”
He observed that the NCC Tennis League has put a good prize money for the competing teams and has taken tennis tournament to cities and states.
“A lot of cities and states that didn’t have tennis tournaments are now getting to see the top players. The league has attracted sponsorship to the players… these boys can come together and train under a coach employed by their sponsors, which wasn’t there before. This sponsorship by NCC has changed the face of tennis in Nigeria.”
Also speaking, Head, Public Affairs of NCC, Reuben Moka, said the tennis league was part of “our Corporate Social Responsibility to the society. It is not just being a regulator; we want to be a good corporate citizen by sponsoring not only sports. We have the digital appreciation programme where we put computers and other resources in secondary schools and universities for the use of students in the institutions.