The Chairman of the Nigeria Tennis Umpires Association, Kehinde Ijaola, outlines the highlight of his first year as chairman and discloses the improvements the association, which he heads, is looking to make in the coming year.
In April, just before the ITF World Tennis Tour events in Abuja, the association unveiled new officiating uniforms at the National Tennis Centre in Abuja. The chairman highlighted that and appreciated the sponsors as well as the previous administration.
“Just few months after I came on board we unveiled new uniforms and everywhere we go as officials people have been commending us about the uniform, this makes me happy,” Ijaola, the chairman, said.
“I also want to thank the person who gave us this uniform because he did it for free. From the sponsor of Rainoil, Mr. Gabriel Ogbechie to Lagos Open tournament director, Prince Wale Oladunjoye, it’s been positive comments.
“The last administration tried very well, they set up a platform which we are trying to build on. I give my predecessor Mr. Saidu a big kudos.”
“I also want to thank all the members for their cooperation because everything we’ve achieved won’t have been possible without them.”
Ijaola revealed that the association is looking to improve the welfare and package of members in 2020 and also create more opportunities for women in officiating so as to improve gender equality.
“In terms of welfare and package, we are trying to see how individuals can benefit more as members of the association. We are also trying to be more closer to the Federation,” the chairman disclosed.
“Another one is to ensure we also try to give the female gender more opportunity because that is what ITF actually want. We will also make sure we carry along national umpires because they are the majority.”
He also talked about the umpires that joined the association this year, lauding their performances.
“The officials we have invited this year have done marvelously well. At every tournament we did education of officials with questions and answers reminding them to go back to their rule book. In 2020 we are going to invite officials based on their classifications and the classifications are based on their performances this year.
“This year we had national umpires doing the finals, especially the doubles during the CBN and Vemp. We want to give the national umpires a sense of belonging and the confidence they need.”
Ijaolo appreciated the President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation and the patrons of the Nigeria Tennis Umpires Association for their solid support.
Patrons of the NTUA are: Engr Dayo Akindoju, Mr. Edmond Ajoge, Pastor Taiwo Oyeyemi, Mr. Obinna Ofodum, Mr. Sylvester Uzoama (Sponsor of the NTUA uniform), Alhaji Iro Yahaya, and Mr. Alayande Abiodun Wasiu