***As Ex-Coach Laments Squatting At TRADOC Squash Court By State Players
KATSINA– Four players from Niger and Katsina States are currently flying Nigeria’s flag at the 5 Nation African Under-17 Badminton Championship today 24th August, 2022 in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital.
The cheering news is coming as State Squash players and members of the Niger State Squash Association (NSSA) is pleading with the Governor Abubarkar Sani Bello led administration to save Squash from dying in the state.
Chairman, Niger State Badminton Association, Alhaji Nma Kolo who is also the Special Adviser (Politics and Strategy) to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello and the state representative to the championship disclosed this in an interview in Minna.
The three days African’s zone 3 Championship, Nma Kolo explained is featuring five African nations; Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and the host Cameroon.
Nma Kolo said Badminton is growing in leaps and bounds not only in Niger state but the entire zone, and that team Nigeria is being represented by four players, two each from Niger and Katsina state who had qualified for the semi-finals of the championship.
The state government decided to sponsor the two youthful players to represent Nigeria at the Championship to expose them to major international championship and as well prepare them for bigger championships.
“Our policy of catching them young is yielding positive result as our player are all home grown products that are doing so well. Win or lose, these boys must have gathered enough experience from this tournament and we will not relent in our developmental efforts”.
“It might interest you to know that, I personally discovered the young lad, and to discover more of his types we are currently constructing a multi million Naira Badminton court at the Minna Sports club, David Mark road”.
Meanwhile, players and members of the Niger State Squash Association (NSSA) has lamented the absence of a single functional Court for training after the only existing facility at David Mark road was blown off by rainstorm over two years ago.
Niger state once ruled in Squash and even hosted two national championships some years ago, the situation is however different now as the state is not even visible and not a single player is among the top 5 according to Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF) ratings, one of the stakeholders lament.
It is very unfortunate that Niger state which used to rule in Squash is nowhere to be found in rating, not even among the first ten in NSF. The situation is getting worst by the day, there is no single facility to train with less than five months to this year’s National Sports Festival.
Former Senior Coach, Jimmy Nwaebili in a chat said it is unfortunate that state players squat at the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Nigerian Army, using their Squash Court, not minding inherent danger playing on terrazzo against modern wooden floor.
Nwaebili pleading with the state government to repair the Court at David Mark road recalled that, “Niger once ruled Squash, many of our players are the once playing for other states. They left because nobody catered for them, they are not paid monthly stipends or allowances to encourage them, this is very sad”.