By; Ayo Ojedokun, Lagos.
All is now set by the International Tennis Federation(ITF), to reward Nigeria’s Michael Osewa,with a European tour following his brilliant display at the recent concluded 39th ITF/ CAT African Junior Championships in Pretoria, South Africa.
Although Osewa failed in his bid to be crowned Africa’s best player in the Boys’ 14-&-under category by losing to Damien Laporte of the Seychelles in the final held at the ITF High Performance Centre in Pretoria, he seems to have done enough to be among the few players that will be chosen across all the continents by the world governing body of tennis for the tour.
Osewa’s silver medal outing was the best in Nigeria’s history at the 25-nation event which is the biggest junior tennis in Africa.
Nigeria’s junior tennis Head Coach, Mohammed Ubale said on the team’s arrival in Abuja that the 14-year-old, alongside Laporte, Ryan Randiek of Kenya, Khololwalm Monsti of South Africa and a host of other players, will now be upgraded to the 16-&-under category in next year’s edition having been identified as one of Africa’s talented prospects in tennis.
“From all indications, Osewa should be among the players that will be in the European Tour where players feature in junior tournaments across five European countries namely England, France, Germany Belgium and Holland.
“The players will be assembled for a week or two by the ITF before embarking on the tour which could last for about two months,” said Ubale who pour encomiums on Osewa for accounting for the exits of two highly ranked players notable of which was top-seed Younes Adnane of Tunisia despite losing his first set at the 11-day championship.
The European Tour is part of the ITF developmental programme with players having the luxury of playing in the junior category of the French Open and Wimbledon Open.
Nigeria’s Candy Idoko was selected for the tour in 2012 after placing joint-third in the same category in 2012 held in Gaborone, Botswana but could not attend due to visa-related issues.