27 July 2017

Nigeria: Meet Nigerian Who Steers Golf in Equatorial Guinea

Like they say, every marvelous thing comes in small package. Look at gold, then diamond and Lionel Messi. Now, check out the enchanting beauty of Equatorial Guinea, a tiny nation of the west coast of Cameroon and you will see why tourism thrives there.

Equatorial Guinea is the smallest country in Africa and yet it could be the prettiest. As at 2013, the population of the country was just a little above 750,000 people. The capital, Malabo, has less than 200,000 people. The terrain features large coastal plains with gorgeous sandy beaches, contrasting with wonderful inland hills. This place enjoys a tropical, hot and humid climate which suits golfers who crave for adventure. In truth, tourism thrives in Equatorial Guinea and it's all thanks to the game of golf.

Now this might stun and amaze you. The folk who steers the game of golf to glory in this beautiful nation is a Nigerian. He is Wale Opayinka, who hails from Ibadan, Oyo State. And let's throw you a freebie. Opayinka, as we speak, is married to the daughter of that nation's 77 years old life President, Icodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

Wale Opayinka loves golf with uncanny passion. Not that he plays that much but he is usually thrilled with ways he is turning tourism around with the game of golf. He holds a yearly world class golf event in Malabo that is usually loaded with renowned golf professionals from across the globe. You don't just walk into Opayinka's tourney. You have to feature in a qualifying round to merit a ticket.

So good for Pro golf in Nigeria. The qualifying round for the West Africa region for this year's Malabo event will happen in October at the Ibadan Golf Club. In the Ibadan pack, close to 100 professionals from across West Africa will feature. And only three will qualify for the real thing in Malabo. The tourney weighs some N10 million, all from Opayinka wallet.

'We are in for a thrill", an excited Director of the Professional Golfers Association of Nigeria [PGAN], Samson Lawal said. "Apart from this tourney, the man invited executives of PGAN to a meeting in Ibadan. It was such a fruitful meeting all geared towards uplifting Pro golf in Nigeria".

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