The Chairman of the Nigeria Tennis Umpires Association, Kehinde Ijaola, relates what it’s been like leading the association and talks about the 2019 tennis season in the country.

Ijaola, who became head of the officiating body a year ago, revealed that leading the association has been a “big task, but not a difficult one.” Not a difficult one because of certain attributes that’s been manifested.

“This is not the first time I’m leading,” the chairman said. “When I came on board I knew I was going to lead different people with different background, ethnicity, beliefs and sentiments.

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Some of the country’s umpires after the conclusion of the 2019 Vemp Open in Abuja last week.

“I think it’s easy for me because if you’re leading this type of people you just have to show love, openness and be honest. In every of our decision, I don’t take it singlehandedly, I consult both the patrons of the association and the exco member before I deliver any judgment or decision.”

Ijaola also praised the supportiveness of the members of the association as well as former chairman, Mr. Saidu, while also thanking the country’s tennis chief, Engr. Dayo Akindoju.

“Everybody,” he said, when asked who’s been most supportive. “From the NTF President [Engr. Akindoju], whom I’ve enjoyed full cooperation from, the patrons of the association- they are solidly behind us.

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The President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, Dayo Akindoju, in a handshake with Kehinde Ijaola, head of NTUA.

“The members of the association have been supportive and have also been speaking well of this association. I’ve also enjoyed the full cooperation of Mr. Saidu as a brother.”

The chairman also talked about the 2019 tennis season in the country, saying that while there’s been considerable growth at the junior level, the leadership of the NTF is working towards taking tennis to the “next level.”

“There’s a lot of improvement in tennis in Nigeria especially at the junior level, looking at what the current leadership of the NTF is doing headed by Engr. Ifedayo Akindoju,” Ijaola said.

“They [the NTF] are trying to see how we can improve the grassroot and also instill discipline from the onset and also bring coaches back to the drawing table so things can improve.

“They want to make sure that tennis is not where it is, they want to take it to the next level, so Nigerians can meet up with other countries of equal out there.”