The President of Nigeria Squash Federation, Boye Oyerinde says 2019 will be used to compliment the successes record in the last 18 months.
Oyerinde told www.aclsports.com that the federation held four PSA approved international tournaments in 2018.
He said the federation now has the data base of squash players scattered across the 36 states of the federation including the FCT.
Oyerinde said, “In 2019, we intend consolidating on our efforts in the last 18 months. If you recall when we met earlier, I told www.aclsports.com that we met nothing on ground but as at today, we have been able o set up our data base, know the players and their various locations.
“The Federation has been able to do ranking tournaments and now have an idea of how our players are positioned and fortunately we have been able to gain the confidence of the stakeholders. If you noticed, last year we had quite a few tournaments and for the first time in a long while we had four PSA approved international tournaments in one year.
The 2018 Sports administrator nominee revealed that the federation is working on selecting the best players to constitute the national team adding that they will focus on grassroots programs.
He expressed satisfaction on the improvement recorded among squash players.
He said, “As we stand today, Nigeria does not have a national team yet but we know individuals will fit in the team when we eventually get to that which is one of the things we are working towards. We also have to get started with our grassroots developmental programs as well as tidy up on our data base and get our IT infrastructure up and running.
“I am very impressed at the growth rate and it is quite encouraging for us at the board level the reason been that when we started in 2017, the quality of play was rather low but seeing competitions now, the players are playing so well.
“Last year we had our under 19 champion who has now crossed over to the senior because he clocked 19 in September; playing in his first ever international tournament in the glass court and he beat World number 138. That tells us something that if we are able to get our players into camp and train them well, the sky is the limit for our players”.
He further said, “Well, I can tell you right now that the All Africa Games is not one of the things we are looking forward to. The reason behind this is that I do not have the details if squash as been included into the schedule.
“At the 2015 All Africa Games in Congo, squash not even included so until we get the details we are just going to follow our own program which is to get our players into camp to determine who and who qualifiers to joins the national squad amongst the players and to be able to raise the funding required to put them in camp and train them against future tournaments”.
Oyerinde said the reason why North African and other African nations bully Nigeria at tournaments is because the country lacks structure.
He promised to make the squash team formidable within the next two years.
He said, “The North Africans are not our only problem; any structured country will be our headache if we do not get our acts together. That is why we are trying to get our teams together and work towards camping them before major tournaments.
“The North Africans especially the Egyptians you see today is a result of many years hard work; Nigeria is just starting”.
“The truth of the matter is I believe strongly that if we are able to continue with our programs and get adequate funding, we will give them a run for their money within a short period of time and I am saying within the next two years because I can see clearly that our players have what is takes to match them if given an enabling environment”, he added.
He applauded the board members and squash stakeholders for investing their time and money in the game.
He said, “First of all, I will like to appreciate squash stakeholders for the supports in the last couple of months but the journey is just beginning and we will just continue to appeal for their support and let them know that their investments is not wasted as they can see.
“We still need their support in the training of coaches, referees and have a standing national team in order to raise the game to the desired level by all stakeholders. Give us little more time and they will see out athletes performing well at the international scene”.