Africa squash federation says Nigeria’s development in sport impressive


Lucky Mlilo, the Vice-President, Africa Squash Federation, Southern Region,  says he is impressed with the development of squash in Nigeria.

He made the assertion at the ongoing Lagos International Squash Classics holding from March 19 to March 24, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos State.

Mlilo noted Nigerian squash players had the potential to become world best if they were adequately trained.

“In 2013, I was the Chief Referee for the Lagos Squash Classics and from then to my observation of today, there has been a lot of improvement in form and skill.

“There are many young players who have the potential to be ranked among the best players in the world if they are provided with the enabling environment,’’ he said.

The president advised African countries who were interested in developing squash to provide facilities and the enabling environment that would encourage players to reach their full potential.

“For instance, the Egyptians are world champions at the moment. They are doing very well and this can be attributed to the support they are getting from their government.

“Their policies for squash are targeted at grassroots development. You find out that in Egypt, children as young as three-year-old are already playing squash.

“In Egypt, a squash player can get a scholarship and travel overseas to pursue a career in life,’’ he said.

Mlilo urged African countries to emulate what Egypt is doing in terms of developing squash and sports generally in their country.

“Our government can become directly involved in the sport by giving the necessary support, building squash courts in high density areas.

“This will influence squash to be a majority sport rather than a minority sport which will lead to the production of quality players and overall improvement of the sport,’’ he said.

In the quarter-final of the male category; Augus Gilliams defeated Joe Green 3-0 both from England, and Mohamed Elsherbini of Egypt defeated Jean-Pierre Brits of South Africa 3-1.

Dimitri Steinmann of Switzerland defeated Sean Conroy of Ireland 3-0, while Shehab Essam of Egypt defeated Babatunde Ajagbe of Nigeria 3-0.

In the female category, Eva Fertekova of Czechoslovakia defeated Busayo Olatunji of Nigeria 3-0, Rofiat Abdulazeez of Nigeria defeated Kally Yashim 3-0 also from Nigeria, while Veronica Sunday defeated Dunni Okikiola both from Nigeria 3-0.

Others include Salma Youssef of Egypt who defeated Faidat Soliu of Nigeria 3-0 and Yemisi Olatunji of Nigeria who defeated compatriot Yemisi Taiwo 3-0.