Abuja – Ademola Bamidele, Controller of Prisons at Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) has called on the private sector and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to contribute meaningfully to the development of tennis in the country.
Bamidele, who made the call at the ongoing International Tennis Federation (ITF)/ Africa Junior Championship (AJC) qualifiers in Abuja, said athletes’ sponsorship would go a long way in developing the sport in Nigeria.
He said the sponsorship of tennis athletes to local and international competitions would rapidly promote the game thereby exposing the athletes and discovering new talents for the future.
“I appeal to the rich and private organisations in the country to come out and sponsor these kids; it will help them in their future ambition.
“White collar job is not available for everyone, sports is another job that can give them a rest of mind where they will practice as professional players.
“Philanthropists can also come to their support; as veterans, we are doing our best to help them with the sport equipment and some necessary things.
“People like Tombin are always there for them; we, therefore, call for more help and our prayer is that God will continue to bless them because we need people who God has blessed to support tennis,’’ he said.
Bamidele also commended the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) for orgainsing the ITF/AJC championship, noting that it was an opportunity to select players for future tournament.
“The programme is very good, it will help to promote the younger players; it will also help to discover new talents and encourage them to be serious if they want to make a career in tennis.
“These children have shown tremendous development in the game by demonstrating their skills; private and government schools can also include tennis in their sports activities.
“All the athletes participating in this championship are from primary and secondary schools and I wish this game can be included in our school so that these children will be exposed to the game,’’ he said .
NAN reports that nine countries including Republic of Benin, Cameroon, DR Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Togo, Mali and host Nigeria, are participating in the tournament.
Eight players comprising four males and four females will advance to the next stage of the tournament which will hold in South Africa between March 8 and March 17.
The tournament which began on Jan. 9 ends on Saturday, Jan. 16. (NAN)