8 March 2013

Nigeria: Egbuchunam Blames Administrators for Tennis Slump

The President of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Barr. Sam Egbuchunam has said that his administration was on course to returning the once celebrated club to its rightful place as the hub of tennis development and activities in country.

In a little over six months since assuming the position of the President of the club, situated in Onikan, Lagos Island, the LLTC is wearing a new look after extensive renovation works were done on all the courts and new floodlights were installed to allow for tennis play at night.

US tennis star Venus Williams (R) speaks to children on October 31, 2012 during a two-hour tennis clinic at the Ikoyi club in Lagos. AFP PHOTO

These facelifts have in turn sparked a surge in tennis activities, with the highlight being the exhibition match by the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena on the Lord Rumens Club, late last year. The world's attention was fixed on the Club as the match was beamed live on cable television to a world audience.

And the trend of continuous tennis action seems to have continued this year as the Club has hosted a tournament, the Delta Airline Tennis Classics and is presently hosting the Central Bank Junior Tennis Championship.

With such activities holding from time to time, Egbuchunam is confident that his plan to return the LLTC to the ideals of the founding fathers was gradually coming into reality.

Speaking with Sports Vanguard during the week, the President, while admitting that what he met when he became the President was nothing to write home about, said that it took purposeful and selfless leadership for him to readdress the club's dwindling fortunes.

While stating that his long romance as an integral member of the club played a crucial role in shaping his managerial style, Egbuchunam said that he made little effort in charting a new path for the relaunch of the LLTC.

"A lot of things had really gone when I came om board but I knew that it was not going to be difficult to turn around things for the good of the club and the tennis society, because our tennis players use these courts for their career growth

"There used to be a standard in the past. The standard was always maintained by the founding fathers of the club. Leaders like Lord Rumens, Raheem Adejumo, to mention just these two, were men of high standards, who ensured that this club was the envy of all.

"It was so good being a member of the club and all the big matches were holding here and we were all proud of what our club was doing for tennis. Bur like a sudden bolt from God knows where, things started taking a turn for the worse and the glory just disappeared like that.

"But when I became the President, I knew the onus was on me to offer purposeful leadership and that others were going to key in to my vision if they were sound, sincere and for the good of the club. The results are there to be seen and this is just the beginning of our tennis rediscovery.

"There was a time when they said that the club needed to allow party-goers use our grounds but when I came, I stopped it because there are other better ways of making money than allowing for social parties in such a hallowed place like a tennis complex.

"Today, the club is doing well without these parties and things can only get better if we partner with multinationals and corporate bodies to develop tennis, which is the real reason why this club was founded.. We need to use our wherewithal to develop tennis players, through private sponsorship to tours and circuits and tournament hosting", added Egbuchunam.

According to him, the major problem of tennis was poor administration.

"If we have capable administrators, who are forward thinking, innovative, dynamic and selfless, our tennis will become great again. It only takes good leadership to make things to work. If you have good leaders, the followers will key into the master's vision", said Egbuchunam

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