*More playing states will make game stronger
Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF) has been charged by coach Segun Afokhai to rise up to the occasion, and revive the game in the country and to also embrace democracy in its operations.
The Head Coach of Squash in Niger state, Segun Afokhai, while analysing the state of the development of the game in Nigeria said that the game is only being played in very few states, a situation he described as absurd.
According to him, ‘squash is going down and is just happening in few states like Kwara, Lagos, maybe Ogun and Niger state. And even in Niger state, we are only improvising to train the players because we don’t have squash courts,’ he said.
Afokhai, who came to Ilorin on a three-day training visit with his players last week, said that the federation needs to really operate like a federation and a mother to all the components that made up squash racket in the country.
He said that coaches are not recognised, pointing out that in most national competitions, only players are accommodated, with no provision for the coaches who in the first place, are the ones discovering and training the players to keep the game going.
‘Coaches must be recognised, officials must be accorded their rightful place in the system and the players’ association must also be carried along and not just some set of people running it’, Afokhai added.
On the level of improvement of squash in Nigeria, coach Afokhai said that there is more improvement in the standard of play of the junior players, whom he said, are gradually upsetting the senior players in the country now.
‘In recent times, the improvement is only being witnessed in the younger players and that was maybe because we have more junior tournaments. The U-19 players are already upsetting the senior players and the players creating this upsets are from either Kwara or Lagos states.
The Niger team was in Ilorin to sharpen up ahead of 2018 programmes, as well as the National Youth Games. He said that they decided to choose Kwara because the state has younger players that are good, adding that the team will return in 2018 to have one or two weeks extensive training in the state.
Afokhai commended Kwara Squash Association, the players and coaches for the hospitality, adding that his players have learned a lot in their short stay.
Four players, two male and two female from Niger state played the round robin friendly matches against eight players from Kwara state during the three-day tour, at the squash court of the Kwara State Stadium Complex, Ilorin.