The new President of Nigeria Squash Federation, Mr Boye Oyerinde has promised to revive the fortunes and recapture the glory days of the game within the next four years.
To achieve this, Oyerinde says the federation will give adequate attention to grassroots development.
Oyerinde made the assertion while revealing his plans for the game in an exclusive interview with 3tvonline .
“One of my vision is to develop youngsters for Nigeria squash and the national team.
”We will talent-scout, groom players from junior level — 12 , 16-19 and the different age groups, that is from the basics.
”And this we will do by putting the right structure in place, there’s none on ground at the moment.
”First, we need a database of the number squash courts in the country, as I speak to you I don’t have the numbers.
”Lagos probably have the highest number of courts in the country, there are courts also in Abuja, Kwara but we need to be specific and categorize them.
”How many clubs are social courts, military courts, government courts etcetera.
”Having identity the numbers, we need to know the state of these courts.
”Are they use able? do these courts need major or minor overhaul? and how much would it cost to renovate them?
”Whilst we are doing this, we will simultaneously identity the schools around these facilities in order for us to be able to attach the young one to these facilities.
”Having identify the facility and how much it will cost to fix them, we will then have 5 to 6 schools around to utilize this renovated court for training.
Furthermore, he says: ”We’re going to then source for training kits for the court instead of the schools, this will reduce our cost.
”A coach and a referee will also be attached to the court.
”Going further, the schools will be ask to schedule playing time for interested student-who will be trained by the same coach.
”This will make us have a stream of new and upcoming players, these players will also be monitor by the federation, he posits.
The federation helmsman adds: ”Since we have six(6) geographical zones in the country, we will organise zonal championship for these youngsters.
”This will help us to feed the national team in the long run and give us an opportunity to build a database of junior players (U-16, 19) boys and girls.
A cross section of the U-16 & U-19 Squash players at a recent tournament
Capacity Building For Coaches & Referees
According to the NSF president, the board will also develop the capacity of Nigeria coaches and referees.
He notes that the federation will expose these officials to latest techniques of the game through internationally acceptable certification development training programmes.
”We really need to have certified officials in Nigeria to be able to handle certain level of tournament.
”In 2013 and 2014, when the Lagos International Classic was organize, on both occasion we had to bring in officials from outside the country.
”One from Zimbabwe in 2013 and another from Pakistan in 2014, when we should have easily develop our officials, this we intend to change.
”We will figure out what kind of coaching programmes we will expose our coaches to.
”Also, we will decide how long such training will be, determine whether it will be cost effective to bring in the experts to train the coaches and referees locally.
Some of Nigeria Squash players at PSPAN Classic
How To Improve Nigerian Players PSA Ranking
Oyerinde, who was in charge of the 2013 and 2014 Lagos International Squash Classics says the federation will also work assiduously to enhance the ranking of Nigerian players on PSA world ranking.
To achieve this, he says Nigeria needs to support its national athletes and expose them to more high-level tournaments.
”To have Nigeria players in PSA world ranking means they have to be playing PSA sanctioned tournament locally or internationally.
”At present there are no standard national team, no training programmes or structured avenue to monitor these players progress.
”There are no strategy on how these players ranking can be improved.
”These players play all sort of tournament that have little or no bearing on their ranking.
”We have good players in Nigeria but they need to be guided and supported by the federation.
”If they are properly guided, it will be easier for them to know which tournament will improve their ranking or not.
Giving an example of how Egypt is supporting its players, Mr. Oyerinde affirms that, this kind of success story is what NSF want to replicate in Nigeria.
”Most times when our players go out to play these tournaments (one or two of them)-it is against the world and that should not be the case.
”When we had our tournament in 2013 and 2014, we had Egyptians come in droves.
”They came with their federation president, coach and physiotherapist- they had a team behind their players.
”This is the kind of structure programme the NSF intend to replicate in Nigeria.
”In our case, we will also attach a psychologist, to put the players in the proper frame of mind.
”If not, it will be difficult for our players to get better ranking on PSA world ranking.
”But if we can sustain this approach in the next 4years, one or two of them could be in the top 100, and top 50 in the next 5-8 years.
Cross Section of Squash youngsters
Reconciliation of NSF Stakeholders
On the question of disunity among stakeholders prior to the election, Mr. Oyerinde says the different factions within the federation have since close ranks.
”That’s in the past now. After my election, I have reach out to lot of parties within the system, everybody is on board now, he posits.
”My vice-president (Umaru Aliyu) and other executive members have also reach out to a number of people within the squash community.
”And I must confess the response has been encouraging.
”Remember, all the states were represented in the just concluded election.
”I believe change has indeed come to Squash and all those issues are now history, Mr Oyerinde declares.