South Africa’s Iain Smith, who’s Africa’s Head of Officiating, speaks about his fondness for Nigeria and expresses his delight in working with the country’s tennis federation.

Smith came into Nigeria for the Tombim Abuja Open and was also lead instructor at the ITF Officiating Course which held in Abuja from 4th – 7th April. The South African calls Nigeria his second home and says being in the West African nation is always a pleasure.

“I’ve been coming to Nigeria since 2001,” said Smith. “So it’s where my first international assignment to a  place as an ITF Supervisor in 2001 and I’ve always enjoyed coming to Nigeria and West Africa.”

“I’ve seen a lot of officials grow from national officials to certified and international officials. It’s always nice to come back and see people that are very close to the heart, who we care about,” the ITF official added.

Nigerians desire for additional knowledge and willingness to learn is what attracts Smith to the country. Not just that, but also the friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

“I just like the people- very keen and open to learn, always wanting to get new information, very helpful,” he said. “It’s just a pleasure to work with the officials.”

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Iain Smith alongside Nigeria’s Chief Referee, Saidu Musa (L).

“The general public that I’ve come across, always very polite and friendly, a lot of them recognize you from coming back from previous events. It’s great working with people that all want to see a successful event and have the same common cause of wanting to improve.

“It’s a privilege working with the Nigeria Tennis Federation.”