Abuja – Coaches at the ongoing International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Africa Junior Championship (AJC) Qualifiers on Tuesday in Abuja applauded host country (Nigeria) for good organisation of the tournament.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the ITF and the AJC Qualifiers is organised biennially by Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF).
The event holds in Package B of the National Stadium.
Some of the coaches told NAN in separate interviews that the championship was to prepare players for future tournaments.
Gildas Leba, coach of Congo Brazzaville team, said that the tournament was a good opportunity for his players to gain more experience of the game.
“I am happy for my players because this is their first experience of leaving Congo for an international tournament; in our country we don’t organise events to keep them fit.
“I came with two players, they played two games and they lost; they have two more games to play which will definitely add to their knowledge.
“Both my players are orphans; if they can learn fast, improve their quality and become professionals, they will be able to take care of themselves and not have to depend on government.
“It is very possible for them to combine school with sports activities,’’ Leba said.
Tinde Djakarya, Coach of the Cote d’Ivoire team, gave kudos to NTF for organising the tournament in spite of the global challenge of inadequate funds.
“We thank NTF for hosting this tournament; it is very well coordinated.
“This is my second time in Nigeria and I can say that this year’s event is better organised that the previous tournament; I am sure that the next edition will be even better.
“I came with five players; four of them have qualified for the quarter finals’ game tomorrow and we will work hard to book a ticket for the AJC scheduled for South Africa in March,’’ Djakarya said.
For his part, Mali coach, Ousmane Coulibaly said he was impressed with the security in the stadium but expressed some concerns about the feeding arrangements.
“What we hear about Nigeria is quite different from what is obtainable; the security is ok both in the stadium and in town and you can move freely.
“I would, however, want to draw the attention of NTF to the feeding arrangements; I believe that they can improve on the quality.
“My team played five games today and we won four and lost one; we will continue to work hard to secure a place in the AJC,’’ Coulibaly said.
NAN reports that nine countries are participating in the tournament including Republic of Benin, Cameroon, DR Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Togo, Mali and host, Nigeria.
Eight players, 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 begun on Jan. 9, would end on Jan. 16. (NAN)