A squash coach, Segun Afokhai, on Sunday in Ilorin charged the Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF) to quickly rise up to the challenge of reviving the game in the country.
Afokhai, who is the Head Coach for squash at the Niger Sports Council, told newsmen the federation also needed to embrace democratic tenets in its operations.
The coach who was in Ilorin on a three-day training programme with his players said it was absurd that the game was only being played in a few states in Nigeria.
“Squash is going down, and it is just in existence in few states like Kwara and Lagos, and maybe Ogun and Niger.
“Even in Niger, we are only improvising to train the players because we don’t have squash courts,’’ he said.
Afokhai said the NSF needed to really operate like a federation, and be a mother to all the components that make up squash in the country.
He said it was worrisome that coaches were not recognised in the scheme of things, pointing out that at most national competitions, only players were accommodated.
“Usually, there is 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 things,’’ Afokhai said.
On the level of improvement of squash in Nigeria, the coach said there was more improvement in the standard of play of the junior players.
He pointed lout that the juniors were gradually improving by creating upsets and beating the senior players during competitions.
“In recent times, the improvement is only being witnessed in the younger players, and that was maybe because we have more junior tournaments.
“The under-19 players are already beating the senior players, and the players creating this upset are from either Kwara or Lagos,’’ Afokhai said.
He disclosed that his team was in Ilorin to shape up ahead of its 2018 programmes, as well as the National Youth Games (NYG).
Afokhai said his team decided on Ilorin because Kwara has younger players who are good.
He added that they would return later to have one or two weeks of extensive training in the state.
The coach commended the Kwara Squash Association, as well as its players and coaches for the lot learnt during their short stay.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that four Niger players, two male and two female, were involved in round-robin friendly matches against eight players from Kwara.
The three-day tour saw them playing at the squash court of the Kwara Stadium Complex in Ilorin.(NAN)