Down the fairways of Durban Country Club, MTN Sales and Distribution Executive, Omatshola Barrow is put on the spotlight by Olawale Ajimotokan who covered the recent World Amateur Golfers Championship in KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa.
Could you share your World Golfers Championship experience with us?
Thank you; it has been an exciting experience for us so far in spite of the weather condition here. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay here in Durban. The organisers lined up a number of exciting activities to make our stay worthwhile.
How long has MTN been involved in the sponsorship of golf in Nigeria?
MTN has been sponsoring the World Golfers Championship (WGC) which has remained the biggest amateur golf event in Nigeria since 2007.
Why is MTN sponsoring golf?
The game of golf as you would have noticed is for upwardly mobile gentlemen and ladies who are achievers in their own rights. They love the game they play and this is an avenue to meet these classes of people at their passion points. For us in MTN, telecommunications has gone beyond just selling airtime, we see as it being more of a lifestyle, that's why we create products and services to enhance the businesses and lifestyles of our high value customers. Furthermore, the MTN brand is always ready to identify with the passion points of its esteemed customers. The fact that MTN is ready and willing to invest in the game of golf explains how important the relationship between MTN and its valued customers is; this also reinforces our brand essence of enriching lives.
Could you tell us who these customers are?
They are company CEOs, top executives in multinationals, senior managers in public and private sectors, the elite in the society, big political stalwarts and successful business women and men.
Apart from the World Golfers Championship, do you sponsor any other golf tournament in Nigeria?
O yes we do, Nigeria is a very big country. We have the Regional Golf Tournaments which are specific club tournaments organised in the regions to further bond with our high value customers' resident within the six geo- political zones of Nigeria. Some of these club sponsorships include Ibadan, Enugu, Uyo, Jos, and Aba Golf clubs. Other sponsorships include: the Alumni Golf Challenge for captains of industry who usually play and win for their alma-maters and the Nigerian Cup Classic.
How has the response been so far?
Our high value customers, who are the target market, see what we are doing positively. They see us as a brand that cares about their lifestyle and a brand of the future. We are developing the game that has a future, especially in Nigeria that has a growing middle class.
What should we expect from MTN and the game of golf in the future?
You should expect a lot more of innovativeness, a lot more of exciting products and services. We can assure you that this is a brand that is not resting on its oars. We are going to constantly excite and delight our customers and ensure they get value for associating with MTN.
How did Team Nigeria Fare in Durban?
Nigeria failed to clinch a gong in all the categories and was bewildered as the all female Namibian team took the Spirit of Sven Tumba Award which Nigeria claimed last year. Nigeria's best shout was in the flights where Sam Galadima finished world 4th best player in the handicap flight category 6-10 with the nett score of 309 to be joined by Usenobong Akpabio (16-20) who finished 9th, as the only players in the top 10. The rest, including Uko Orok 21-25; Emmanuel Onumajuru and Paul Erokoro finished tied for14th, tied for 17th and 22nd respectively.
As usual, Nigeria had the largest contingent of 26 golfers in the invitational event, more than the combined entries of Sweden, Switzerland and Vietnam.