Ehirim urges stakeholders to chart new path for Nigerian tennis
Former Nigeria number one tennis player, Nnamdi Ehirim has called on the sport’s stakeholders to come together and chart a new course for the rebirth of the local game.
Ehirim, who grew up as a budding tennis star to see the likes of Nduka Odizor, David Imonitie, Yakubu Suleiman and Sadiq Abdullahi take the international tennis scene by storm, is worried by the drastic slide in the country’s game such that Nigeria hardly wins senior continental tournaments.
Speaking from his U.S. base at the weekend, Ehirim, who organised a week-long tennis clinic for both junior and senior tennis players in Enugu last December, said the task to revive the sport should be a collective affair.
“It is beyond an individual,” Ehirim, who is a tennis coach at the Centercourt Club and Sport in the USA said, adding, “the problem calls for collective effort. Everybody has to rally round and contribute his quota to the common cause. It is possible.”
Decrying the high cost of tennis equipment in the country, Ehirim observed that it has become difficult for players to equip themselves. He said, “It has become imperative that these young players need help. There are no tournaments, no sponsorships. How do they survive?
“The situation calls for those that have anything to do with tennis to pull resources together to save the sport from extinction in the country.”
To overcome the near hopeless situation, Ehirim is suggesting that big companies in Nigeria be made to contribute a fraction of their profits to a special fund that would be used to purchase tennis equipment for distribution to state tennis associations.
He added, “In every six months equipment would be supplied to one or two states. Before long, the equipment will go round and kids who hitherto had no access to standard equipment will start playing tennis as it should be played, with the best equipment.”
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