May 28, 2009 14:41
Twelve lucky kids, picked from the Onigbongbo Tennis Academy, are to embark on a training tour of South Africa, next month.
The young boys and girls, who emerged from the Catch-Em-Young initiative of the Onigbongbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA), were unveiled at an official launch of the Academy, at the Officers’ Mess Tennis Court, Military Cantonment, Ikeja, yesterday. The Nwabueze sisters, Alima, 9 and 8-year-old Mariam, nicknamed the ‘Williams Sisters’ due to their style of dressing and play, led the team that will depart for South Africa on 5 June, 2009. Some of the children who made the team under coach James Makafan are Seun Owolabi, Victor Akinpelu, Audu Akpan, Ayo Ajayi and Oyebade Damilola.
Chairman of Onigbongbo LCDA, Hon. Idowu Obasa, told P.M.Sports that his council created the academy to provide an enabling environment for the less privileged but talented youths to develop themselves in tennis. “These young tennis players were selected from our Council’s pet project, which will produce world class tennis players for Lagos state and Nigeria in the near future. “They will undergo special training under our coaches and those of the South Africa Tennis Federation from next week. Our target is to ensure that the kids get scholarship to play international tennis side by side their educational pursuit,” Obasa said.
The politician said his council will continue with the empowerment of youths in its domain, assuring the parents of the selected primary school pupils of their safety and expressed optimism that their trip to South Africa will be a huge success. Brigadier-General Johnson Ochoga, who chaired the event, gave kudos to Onigbongbo for the youth tennis initiative and urged the kids to make the best use of the opportunity. The launch of the academy coincided with the Children’s Day celebrations marked across the world yesterday. Children from nine primary schools in Ikeja attended the launch.