NTF to use ‘Fulani Boys’ template for development
The Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) says it will now embrace the ‘Fulani Boys’ template as part of its developmental programmes.
This follows the impressive performances of the trio Musa Sanni, Aliyu Sanni and Saminu Abubakar at the just-concluded SNEPCO Tennis Championship in Lagos where Musa and Saminu caused series of upsets to reach the final which was won by the latter in the Boys 14 & under category.
NTF boss, Sani Ndanusa, who was represented by the federation’s scribe, Gloria Ekwempu-Chinwoko, urged government to create Community Sports Centres across the country, which he pointed out will help identify and nurture talents in sports.
Coach Babatunde Abe, a coach with over 25 years training skills in the US, who has been nurturing the boys in Abuja, said he was satisfied that the experiment has paid off with the excellent performance of the boys in a high profile competition.
“We came for the tournament just to see how they will cope playing under pressure but they surprised everyone with their style of play,” Abe said.
Abe disclosed that it’s barely four months that he has been training with the kids at the Abuja National Stadium and they have improved rapidly under his watch. “The boy that Saminu defeated in the semifinal has been dominating the category for some time but you see the way that he was beaten.”
He added: “These kids can do wonders with their racquets and they will rule Nigerian and African tennis at the rate of their progression. The only fault about their game is their slow movement which is will now be worked on.”
Director of the International Tennis Academy, Godwin Kienka, confessed that the performance of the ‘Almajiri’ boys, as they are fondly called, makes him marvel going by the way they came into tennis as well as their steady progress.
“This is what success story is all about; from being idle to becoming ball boys and then to move to school and now dominating the courts, one couldn’t have ask for more from the Nigeria Tennis Federation, who opened the tennis facilities at the Abuja stadium for virtually every member of the public. It shows that if we pull together we will achieve results,” Kienka said.