Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The Head of Public Relations, at the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), Reuben Muoka, has stressed that the need to improve the quality of Nigerian tennis players is largely responsible why his commission is sponsoring the 2017 NCC Tennis League to the tune of N23million.
Speaking after a two-day first semifinal of the NCC Tennis League held at the Enugu Sports Club at the weekend, Muoka said the commission remained committed towards encouraging young talents.
â€œThe major objective is to improve tennis in the country because we take quality tennis to all parts of the country and those that participate in this tournament are those best Nigerian tennis players in males and females”, Mouka disclosed.
According to him, the winner of the tournament would go home with N7 million, while the first runner-up will receive N5 million. The 3rd and 4th positions will receive N3 million and N2 million respectively.
The NCC spokesman said Nigeria did not have tennis league until NCC introduced matches between teams in 2015, in which eight teams participated, comprising males and females.
â€œWe partnered the International Tennis Academy (ITA) and the Nigerian Tennis Federation (NTF) in 2015, to organise the first tennis tournament in Nigeria, which had eight participating team.
Last year, about 10 teams participated and 12 teams are participating in this yearâ€™s edition.
“Apart from what the winners will get, we also gave each of the twelve teams the sum of five hundred thousand naira (500,000), to enable them prepare for this competition,â€ stressed Muoka.
The Executive Captain of Tennis Section of Enugu Sports Club Dr. Lawrence Azike said the essence of the tournament on the part of Nigeria and NCC was in line with the government’s desire to partner the private sector to promote sporting activities in the country.
He said it would be an opportunity to empower Nigerian youths to make a living and contribute their own quota towards national development.
The tournament which had been taken to 12 different major cities of Nigeria; Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Ilorin, Onitsha, Jos, Ibadan, Ekiti and Owerri, had its first semifinal in Enugu and produced team Muller as the winner after defeating team Ndoma with 5-2 aggregate.
Another round of semifinal will be in Abuja in December to produce the team that would play the final with Team Muller in Lagos.