The President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, Engineer Dayo Akindoju talks about Beach Tennis in Nigeria and the country’s level of preparedness for the 1st African Beach Games.
According to the President, plans are already in place for the development of beach tennis in Nigeria. The sport, which combines elements of tennis and volleyball, and being played on sand, is governed by the International Tennis Federation. Played in over 50 countries in the world, Nigeria is looking to get in on the action and also develop players in that field.
“We are going to be starting the Beach Tennis Affair,” Engr. Akindoju revealed. “We’d start exposing that [to Nigeria] too because it is gaining a lot of awareness in the world, and tennis is encouraged to be part of it”
However, the NTF, at the moment, doesn’t have anyone in charge of the beach tennis program, but the President says arrangement for a technical team is in the pipeline, as well as the training of coaches who will be able to, in turn, train home players.
“For now we don’t have, but we will soon set up,” the President said, when asked about a technical team in charge of the sport. “For now, the Secretary General, Mrs. Mariam Akande is running it till we get technical people. No coach in Nigeria is trained on beach tennis yet. We are looking to either train one of our coaches abroad or bring a coach here to train Nigerians. We’re going to be running a Beach Tennis Certification here in Nigeria to certify some coaches here to train [players] on beach tennis.”
The African Beach Games, the first of its kind, will hold from 14 – 23 of June this year on the Island of Sal in Cape Verde. Though, it is not certain if Nigeria will participate despite being listed to take part. According to the President, the uncertainty of participation is a result of the lack of exposure to the sport in Nigeria. However, preparations are being made to hasten up learning processes and there is a wave of optimism in participating in the nearest future.
“We don’t know for sure. We are listed to participate, but we’ve not gotten enough exposure to the game,” he said. “It’s just now that we are procuring the paddles [similar to bats] used to play it. But we’ve watched videos, we’ve seen that it’s something we can do. If we’re not able to participate this year, maybe in years to come we’d join and be able to [compete].
“Or we may just go as visitors and learn from it and take it from there.”