The FCT Tennis Association grassroots tennis development program is in its second year running, and that is largely responsible for the huge number of junior players in the Federal Capital Territory.
The program, which takes place monthly at the National Tennis Centre in Abuja, holds for one full day, starting in the morning til nightfall on a Saturday.
It has held every month of this year except the month of June, which was the month the CBN Senior Open took place. This month’s edition had six categories, with 58 kids present. The number of kids should have been up to 70, but rain hindered a few from attending.
In the Boys 10 and 14 categories, Salem Chimezie and Saidu Sani emerged winners, respectively. Khadijat Mohammed won the Girls Under-14 category, while Suleiman Ibrahim and Esther Azi won the Boys 16 and Girls 16 categories, respectively.
However, from next month the program will have eight different categories- the Boys and Girls Under-10, the Boys and Girls Under-12, Boys and Girls Under-14 and the Boys and Girls Under-16.
The FCT Head Coach, Coach Sunday Samuel has attributed the development and success of FCT players to the monthly tournaments, saying, “FCT Players are up and doing as a result of this monthly tournament and then the National Play Your Age was borrowed from this same program, because the April edition of this program was the one that expanded to the National Play Your Age which was sponsored by Mr Edmond Ajoge.”
On the management of logistics and sponsors, Coach Samuel revealed that sponsorship comes from members of the Abuja Tennis Club who are always willing assist.
“We get sponsors from individuals of the Abuja Tennis Club,” he said. “Like this month’s own was sponsored by Mrs Mispah Poku. She got interested when we spoke to her, because she liked the idea.
“Different month, different sponsors, members of the Abuja Tennis Club always help out. The Chairman, FCT Tennis Association, Engr. Dayo Akindoju runs the program even when there’s no sponsor on ground, because he doesn’t want us to miss any month.”