By Kwame Asare Boadu, Kumasi
IT may sound unbelievable but the grim reality is that lack of nets at the ultra-modern tennis court at the Baba Yara Stadium has resulted in the inability of the court being used for competitions.
The average cost of a good net is GH¢600 while the net posts cost GH¢500.
The story paints a bad picture for not only Kumasi but also the entire Ashanti Region, which was noted for producing great tennis players in the past.
In the mid 1970s for instance, the entire national junior team was made up of players from the Ashanti Region. They included Jude Banahene, Ernest Abankroh, Emmanuel Paddy and Agnes Tetteh.
No wonder in recent times, the region has not been able to produce players for the national team.
The Ashanti Regional Tennis Coach of the National Sports Council (NSC), Mr Joseph Acquah, told Graphic Nsempa in Kumasi that the lack of attention for the sport could kill the interest in it.
Consar Limited, contractors for the tennis court project, handed over the projest about a year and half ago. The handing-over raised hopes for a massive revival of the sport in Kumasi and indeed the entire Ashanti Region, but the needed support has not been forthcoming to whip up the enthusiasm in the sport.
Mr Joseph Acquah, told Graphic Nsempa that the tennis court could hold important national and international competitions if the nets were available. “The future of the sport in this region is bright provided we all come together to move it forward,” he said.
In spite of the lack of nets, Mr Acquah said his outfit was doing its best to gather some children to do some training at the tennis court so that the place would not be left lying idle.Over the months, the regional tennis coach had managed to gather some children at the under 13 and 10 levels to train on the court.
The training programme is meant to get talents to feed the national Under 13, 16 and 18 tennis teams. “I have seen a lot of talents in many of these children and if we keep our eyes on them they can be great national assets for the future,” coach Acquah said.
At least 50 children living around the Baba Yara Stadium have been gathered for the training programmes, which take place during the weekends.
Mr Acquah said fortunately, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) had started a project to start playing the Under 10 competition. He indicated that the Ashanti Region would want to take advantage to get the children to play the game.
He urged parents to take interest in the sport by providing equipment for the children to train with. He also called for sponsorship for the game so that the needed interest would be built in the youth.