Yusuf Oyekunle, flanked by participants of the maiden edition of Apapa Tennis Foundation youth clinic at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

Oyekunle, a tennis player based in Spain, on Sunday said grassroots development was crucial for the development of tennis at the national level.

Oyekunle said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the National Stadium, Surulere, at maiden edition of Apapa Tennis Foundation youth clinic.

He added that the initiative was born out of the need to give back to the society and develop tennis.

“During the pandemic, a couple of players came together and decided to form a foundation and give back to the community; we want to compliment what the government is doing.

“We all use to play at Apapa Club, growing up, majority of us still play pro, we just want to develop the sport that has brought us this far.

“We believe that focusing on children from age six to 14 will help discover talents and groom them to be world beaters,” he said.

Oyekunle said members of the foundation tasked themselves monthly to raise funds for activities of the foundation.

“We in the Diaspora know things are tough in the country so we task ourselves at the end of every month.

“The kids are happy and I’m sure they learnt a lot in this youth clinic; this won’t be a one-off, we intend to make this bigger.

“At the end of the day we want to be able to produce players that can represent the country in international competitions,” he said.

He told NAN that no fewer than 60 youths attended the event and they were all given jerseys and racquets.

“We have 60 children who come out to play and we intend to monitor their progress, eventually we will be in partnership with the Nigeria Tennis Federation.

“We as a foundation will sponsor children who have shown a promising talent to international tournaments,” he said.

He said subsequent editions may other regions of the country. (NAN)

Vanguard News Nigeria

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