We must return badminton to its leadership pole in Africa – Francis Orbih
*Busy calendar of tournaments is my plan
Francis Orbih, the outgoing Vice President of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN) has promised busy calendar of tournaments when delegates at the 13th June election bring him into office as the Tsar of the racket game.
Speaking with www.gongnews.net he said, “I am bringing on board all the experiences I have garnered over the years being the chairman of Lagos State Badminton Association of Nigeria (LSBA) amongst others.
According to Mr. Francis Orbih, “I promised to elevate the standard of the game in the country by ensuring that in every state of the federation, we have functional structures that will support and promote the development of the sport rom schools.”
As the vice president in the board that was recently dissolved by the Ministry of Sports, he recalled that, he led the Lagos Badminton Association to host two international classics that drew prominent players from 26 countries from all the continents of the world, hopes to do the same at the national level.
The Lagos International Classics according to him gave Nigerian players international exposure and also aided their rankings. The Classics is the highest category of Badminton World Federation sanctioned championship to be hosted by any African country. A total cash prize of $15,000 was at stake at each of the two editions.
Part of my plans is to “make the game in Nigeria a reference point for other African countries. We need to focus on grassroots development of the game by introducing age grade tournaments in schools to discover, grow and nurture young talents; repackaging the game to be more organised and attractive for better sponsorship across the country; and to make badminton equipment more affordable and available for the growth of the game across the country.”
These are the current challenges of the sport in Nigeria today. Once these issues are faced frontally, every other sport will struggle after badminton and that is my vision, to be number one.
He also promised “sustaining international and zonal championships already in existence. Encourage the establishment of functional badminton associations in all states in the country to help ease administration as well as ensure a busy calendar of tournaments for badminton players in the various states.
He therefore solicited for the support of the stakeholders of Badminton in the country to make his dreams of taking the sports back to her place and position of leadership in Africa a reality.