ABUJA – Prof. Umar Danbatta, acting Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has called on corporate organisations to collaborate with the commission to sponsor the game of tennis in the country.
Danbatta made the call on Sunday in Abuja at the end of the second semi-final match of the NCC sponsored tennis championship which took place at the National Stadium, Abuja.
He said that the game of tennis would positively project the country’s image, if properly developed.
“As you may be aware, this is the maiden edition of this tournament; we are happy the way the commission’s gesture has been received since this tennis league was launched on May 23, 2015.
“Many may be wondering what the telecom regulator have found in tennis to invest in its development.
“It may please you to know that lawn tennis is not the only sporting activity that the commission has supported in the past.
“We have only increased our commitment to this particular sport because of its huge potentials if properly managed; it is also our way of giving back to the society as good corporate citizen.
“I invite other corporate bodies or agencies to support the NCC and use lawn tennis to project the image of our nation and provide useful employment and engagement for our youths,’’ he said.
Danbatta explained that the main objective of the tournament was to develop the game and encourage players participation in the game which he described as one of the “lucrative sporting activity’’.
He said that the prize money for winners of the tournament would be reviewed to encourage more participation in the next edition.
He expressed regret that Nigerian players had not made the desired impact in the world tennis circuit since 1984 after Nigeria’s lawn tennis player Nduka Odizor reached the Round of 16 in Wimbledon in 1983.
“We understand that some Nigeria’s best players are featuring in this competition and this has raised the quality of the competition.
“I promise that the commission will continue to sponsor this tournament and we may review the prize money to the participants.
“We are witnesses to how tennis stars have brought fame and fortune to themselves and their nations; we want to be identified with these talented players in the Nigeria circuit,’’ he said.
Mr Sani Ndanusa, President, Nigerian Tennis Federation (NTF) commended NCC for the sponsorship and urged other corporate bodies to follow suit.
He assured that the federation and players would give value to whatever amount of money that was spent to move the game forward.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the league which began in April, would end in December in Lagos, with the winners going home with N5 million, while the runners-up will grab N3 million. (NAN)