Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Niger State coach charges Nigeria Squash Federation on development

The Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF) has been charged to rise up to the occasion, and revive the game in the country.

Head Coach of squash in Niger state, Segun Afokhai, while analysing the state of the development of the game in Nigeria said that the game is only been played in very few states, a situation he described as absurd.

According to him, "squash is going down, and is just happening in few states like Kwara, Lagos, and maybe Ogun and Niger. And even in Niger State, we are only improvising to train the players because we don’t have squash courts".

Afokhai, who was in Ilorin recently on a three-day training visit with his players, said that the federation needs to really operate like a federation, and a mother to all the components that made up squash in the country.

He said that coaches are not recognised, pointing out that in most national competitions, only players are accommodated, with no provision for the coaches who in the first place, are the ones discovering and training the players to keep the game going.

"Coaches must be recognised, officials must be accorded their rightful place in the system, and the players’ association must also be carried along, and not just some set of people running it," he added.

On the level of improvement of squash in Nigeria, coach Afokhai said that there is improvement in the standard of play of the junior players saying that they are gradually upsetting the senior players.

"In recent times, the improvement is only being witnessed in younger players, and that was maybe because we have more junior tournaments.

The U-19 players are already upsetting the senior players, and the players creating these upsets are from either Kwara or Lagos states."

The team was in Ilorin to sharpen up ahead of 2018 programmes, as well as the National Youth Games. He said that they decided to choose Kwara State because the state has younger players that are good, adding that the team will return to have one or two weeks extensive training in the state.

He commended Kwara Squash Association, the players and coaches for the hospitality, adding that his players have learned a lot during their short stay.

Four players, two male and two female from Niger State played the round-robin friendly against eight players from Kwara State during the three day tour, at the squash court of the Kwara State Stadium Complex, Ilorin.

Nigeria's Yemisi Olatunji (left) during a recent international squash tournament.

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