Nigerian officials participated in a 2-day officiating manager’s workshop in Tunisia within the week. The event, which held between Tuesday, 17, and Wednesday, 18 December, had managers in Africa, including Nigeria’s Mr. Kehinde Ijaola and Mrs. Arinola Isa-Banire, both white badge umpires, in attendance.

Kehinde Ijaola, who is also the Chairman of the Nigeria Tennis Umpires Association, upon his return spoke about the role of an officiating manager.

“They are the people that liase between the Federation and the ITF on everything officiating, and in Nigeria I’m the officiating manager and Mrs. Arinola is the assistant,” Ijaola said.

Arinola said the purpose of the event, the first in Africa, was to educate managers on the requirements of the International Tennis Federation.

“The main reason was to bring all the managers together and educate them on what the ITF wants from the officiating managers,” Arinola disclosed. “The main teacher was Damien Dumusois, who is the head of officiating for the French-speaking part of Africa.

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Participants, teachers with the President of the Confederation of African Tennis, Tarak Cherif.

“This is the first time it held precisely in Africa and it was for the North and West for now. Hopefully before the end of the 1st quarter next year they’d host for the South and East.

“This is not going to be the last of it, but after the South and East have their own workshop, then we will know whether there’ll be a need for an immediate one or a later one,” the white badge official added.

Speaking on the biggest takeaway from the workshop, Mrs. Arinola said the event is an eye opener for the officiating managers to know their specific role in merging International Tennis Officiating and the National Federation.

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Mrs. Arinola Isa-Banire

“We are going to be an intermediary between the ITF and the NTF, helping the officials under the NTF build their careers as officials with the ITF.”

“One of the things they taught us is how to get our officials in Nigeria registered to the International Tennis Officiating portal,” she said.

Arinola also noted that the workshop will help Nigerian umpires get more opportunities in the world of tennis in the coming year.

“These [opportunities for Nigerian umpires] are part of the things we discussed because the Western part of Africa lacks tournaments, so we are going to be reaching out to the Northern part who have enough tournaments now that we’ve seen that we are in the same region.

“Even within us in the West that have 1 or 2 tournaments more than those that don’t even have at all. This is one of the reasons they brought us together so we all can see our differences, lacks and excesses and see how we can help each other.”