The FCT Tennis Association junior team had a fantastic outing at the recently-concluded Play Your Age Junior Tennis Championship in Abuja.
Players in the team made it to the final in all the categories, and emerged victorious in 4 of the 6 different categories. Mariam Azi Bala in the Girls’ Under-10, Salamatu Haruna in the Under-12 category, & Iye Onoja in the Under-14 category, as well as the Boys’ Under-12 category, which Mohammed Idris clinched.
Coach Sunday Samuel attributed their success to hard work, revealing the monthly programs they have for the kids to prepare them for national tournaments.
“The secret is actually hard work,” said Coach Samuel. “The same type of tournament takes place every month in preparation for such national tournaments like this. So, the result you’re seeing today is not just today’s work, it’s a long time on court activities with the kids.”
Training the junior players and fine-tuning them for junior tournaments using monthly competitions require finance. The coach says they are able to pull through because of the kind of members they have.
“We are fortunate to have some of the members who really have interest in tennis,” he said. “First of all, the Chairman of FCT Tennis Association, who also doubles as President, Nigeria Tennis Federation, Mr. Dayo Akindoju … it’s like a pet program every month. He sponsors and then gets his friends to sponsor in one month or the other.”
According to the coach, the monthly competition began last year and held until October. This year, he’s hopeful of a smooth running of the competition all through the calendar year. With the programs the FCT Tennis Association has in place for the juniors, Coach Samuel is hoping they will be able to produce the country’s best players.
“Yes, that is our dream and plan actually, that is why we are working towards that,” he said, on FCT producing the best players. “We are fortunate to have the kids around the stadium and we are also fortunate to have sponsors, people like Mr Dayo Akindoju, Mr Edmond Ajoge, they are really interested in tennis. They are our backbones.”