By John Egbokhan
A former tennis player and now author of a tennis book, Robinson Odoko has challenged the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) to wake up to its responsibilities of midwifing the growth of tennis players, who are now endangered species because of the poor state of the game.
Speaking yesterday to Sports Vanguard, Robinson, who has just authored the book, “Tennis for Health and Wealth”, said that he was saddened by the deteriorating state of Nigerian tennis, which he noted was the failure of administrator to think and follow-through with a sustainable developmental porgramme.
“The state of Nigerian tennis is deplorable as our players are not on the radar of world tennis. We are simply nowhere near the other countries who are doing well because our administrators have failed to fashion out a winning fomular that will put our players on the pedestal of champions.
“What makes our case even more worrisome is that we used to be somewhere near up there but a certain failure of leadership has contrived to put our tennis back. The truth is that our administrators are not paying enough attention to tennis development especially at youth level”, added Odoko.
On the way out of the problem, Odoko, whose 232-page book, takes a holistic view on the rudiments of tennis for players, coaches, administrators and even enthusiasts urged the NTF and the National Sports Commission to adopt the strategies used by countries, whose players are excelling in tennis for the revival of Nigerian tennis.
“As I said earlier, our problem is simply administration and for us to get it right, our administrators must go back to the basics and do things that will bring out the best from our teeming players. If the administrators cannot think on the way out, they can go to countries whose players are doing well in tennis tennis and copy the strategies they are using to churn out champions. If our administrators can imitate other countries, you can be sure that one day, we will be up there”.
On why he authored Tennis for Health and Wealth, Odoko said that “I had to write it as my own contribution to tennis in this country. This book is all-encompassing. This sport has declined a lot in this country, with a lot of people unable to pay coaches. A lot of these coaches also need coaching because of evolving state of the game, which in turn, throws up other unresolved issues.
“This book attempts to bridge the gap and provide a cutting-edge solution to all these problems, so that our tennis can come back to live again”, he added.
Who is Roy Odoko? What is his pedigree in tennis? What is background in sports? We shall serve you the details on this amiable man and more on his book later. Watch out.