An exciting week of world class squash action at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos ended on Saturday as Zaheed Mohammed (EGY) and Millie Tomlinson (ENG) emerged winners on both male and female categories respectively.
Assessing the just concluded Chamberlain Squash Open (CSO), promoter of the event, Chamberlain Usoh spoke to ACLSports sharing his thoughts on the entire tournament and his expectations for the sport in the country.
“It was clearly better and bigger than last year; in terms of the organisation, the prize money was higher, we used a glass court this year, the venue was bigger, the competition was tougher, the invited players were higher ranked.
“So we are glad that we are taking those baby steps and we are going the right way. It’s a step that we think we would continue to take. We are glad that the sponsors came in at this time and were hoping it would improve as time goes on,” he said.
A major source of concern for everyone who saw the games was the inability of the Nigerian players to compete as they were all knocked out at the end o the first round of games. Having his say on what needs to be done to prevent this from re-occurring, Chamberlain said: “The moral is funding, the funding is the player.
“Without the funding there can’t be: coaching, training camp, organisation and we can’t have the best come train them. These are things we want to do so once the funding is there, the organisation is there.”
Adding that next year “We can improve on getting more funding for a start. Once we get that we will improve on the organization, we can improve on the prize money but we also need to pay attention to the quality of Nigerian players on display.”
Chamberlain Usoh has consistently maintained that CSO is not a jamboree, but it is one concerned with discovering and creating a platform for young Nigerian squash players to thrive and become world beaters.
Speaking on his vision for CSO and by extension squash in Nigeria he said: “I’ld like to see the rank of Nigerian players go higher, I would like to see the sport get up there with PSA rankings in terms of organisation and sponsorship, I’ld like to see this on a consistent and yearly basis and when that happens the sport is on the way up.”