Luis De Sousa, a Guinea-Bissau-born Portguese tennis developer, is currently on a 2-week visit to Nigeria. The 63-year-old arrived Abuja on Saturday, and is keen on developing a structure for the Nigeria Tennis Federation in a bid to further enhance the growth of the sport in the country.
The Portuguese, who’s closely related to João Sousa, ranked 41st in the world, and 105th-ranked Pedro Sousa- both active players on the ATP Tour, has tutored over 1000 coaches the world over.
Having been a coach since the age of 20, Sousa has worked with the International Tennis Federation to boost the game in the Middle East, serving as national head coach of Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, as well as Egypt, Tunisia, and Mozambique, during the All African Games in 2011. He coached Qatar during the Asian Games in Qatar 2006 and the Arab Games in Egypt the following year.
He led his home nation, Portugal, as coach and captain at the Davis Cup at the age of 24. Three years before that, he served as coach of the Portuguese U-14, U-16, U-18, and U-21 teams. He was also with the Portuguese team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. He’s gone on to coach nine countries at the Davis Cup.
Before going on to study Physical Health Education at the Lisbon Sports University, De Sousa was a tennis sensation in Portugal, winning the U-21 championships in 1976. That turned out to be the last tournament he played in.
De Sousa couldn’t continue to play professionally because he didn’t have enough money to stay on Tour, and he needed more money to fund his study.
He would go into coaching early to make some money to settle his university fees, and having discovered very early in life that he had good communication skills and was a good teacher, he took and stayed on the coaching route.
He has been on the ITF and ATP Tour for more than a decade, with some of the top junior players in the world, and also has an academy- the Luis De Sousa Academy in his country’s capital, Lisbon.