JUSTICE Ernest Yao Obimpeh, president of the Ghana Tennis Federation (GTF), has attributed Ghana’s failure to make progress in her Davis Cup ranking to the Federation’s precarious financial position.
According to the High Court judge, the GTF receives nothing in terms of remuneration, and until we improve on our position, the situation will not change.
This came to light at an interactive session between the Board of the GTF and the top 30 rated players under the Federation last Wednesday, at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Ghana currently sits in the unprofitable Zone 3, having failed in several bids to qualify to the lucrative Euro-Africa zone 2 which attracts some form of compensation from the Davis Cup tournament organisers.
But as a new administration, the Federation has set itself a huge task of ensuring that Ghana regains qualification to the Euro-Africa zone that once saw the country rub shoulders with top tennis nations including England, Ireland, Portugal, Morocco and others.
Consequently, Justice Obimpeh has rallied the local components of the playing body to intensify their training, as Ghana embarks on the journey to Euro-Africa zone tennis.
He urged the top seeds based in Ghana to train as a result of the interest shown by the foreign based players in featuring for Ghana.
Against advice from the local players to build a formidable home based team for the Davis Cup challenge, Justice Obimpeh said that would not be fair since they are Ghanaians and must not be denied the opportunity to represent their nation.
“My advice to you therefore is to train hard. Work on your weaknesses and improve upon on your strengths. Constant participation in tournaments will also help your growth and development. That will put you in a good form to face them when they come.”
According to the GTF president, his outfit would try as much as possible to organise a lot of competitions to keep the players busy, while the GTF tries to look for sponsorship for the national ranking tournament aimed at helping the GTF to rank the players.
He revealed that the last awards presented to players that excelled at the last ranking tournament were provided by members of the board, but hopes that would soon be something of the past.
On the All Africa Games participation, Justice Obimpeh said preparation has been hampered by issues of finance but urged the players to remain active as they look for solutions for the problem.
Justice Obimpeh also informed the players that, the top four male winners of the McDan Tennis Championship have not been able to embark on their trip to Spain as a result of difficulties in visa acquisition for the players.
He said the Spanish Embassy granted visa for only one person out of the four provided scholarships by the shipping company, adding that, “we have made some interventions and we hope the rest would be granted visas to enable them travel to get the needed exposure.”
He disclosed that the GTF was working fervently to win the rights to host the Africa Juvenile Championship (AJC) which helps in discovering and grooming young talents.
It would be held at Winneba if Ghana wins the hosting rights.
He also expressed the board’s desire to ensure that many of the players get the opportunity to participate in the ATP Futures tournament.
By Andrew Nortey