Following the success of one of the semifinals of the NCC Tennis League held at the Enugu Sports Club, officials of the club have now decided to allow primary and secondary school students to use the facilities to hone their skills in the game.
The Chairman of the Enugu Sports Club, Obum Arum, who was impressed with the high level of tennis displayed by the national players at the first semifinals of the NCC Tennis League Cup, said he was sad that Enugu State, which used to produce national champions, was no longer visible in the Nigerian tennis space.
“It is really unfortunate that we (Enugu) are lagging behind in tennis but I am determined to reverse this trend,” he said.Arum, who had Nigeria’s tennis great Nduka Odizor beside him, added: “Every child who comes here to practice consistently for one month will be given a complete set of tennis equipment to develop his or her skills.”
Odizor, who was in Enugu as the special guest of honour, said he came all the way from Houston, Texas, U.S. to support the league.“The NCC Tennis League is a very good project for Nigerian tennis and I am happy to give it all the support I can muster. Some of us who have benefited from the sport are now ready to give back with our experience and our network to ensure that these boys and girls achieve higher goals than we did.”
The ‘Duke,’ who achieved the highest ranking of 52 in the world and was in the top 100 for nine years, praised Mr. Arum for the gesture and said he was also concerned that Enugu had fallen behind in tennis.
“So many great players like Tony Mmoh, Patrick Obi, Esther Onyekwelu, Cecilia Nnadozie, Nnamdi Ehirim and Kyrian Nwokedi all came out of the Enugu axis and I therefore commend the NCC for bringing the semifinals to Enugu even though there was no team from the State in the League,” Odizor said.Odizor said he would be at the second semifinals this weekend in Abuja and the finals in Lagos the following weekend.
“I would like to see these young players again and again and offer whatever tips I can to help them understand the game better and improve their tactical play.” he said.
The NCC Tennis League has introduced 42 weeks of tennis to the Nigerian tennis calendar this year with the winners getting N7 million, runners-up N5 million, third place N3 million and fourth place N2 million