United Through Sport Ghana Volunteer, Michael Rossi, of London UK, has been coaching at the National Tennis Centre in Accra for the past 6 weeks to assist the development of grassroots tennis in Ghana. During his time in Accra, Michael worked one-on-one with Toshi. Toshi is amongst the most promising young players in Africa. The fifteen year old hails from mixed Ghanaian and Nigerian heritage and has already competed in tournaments around Africa. Michael’s one-on-one coaching sessions will hopefully prepare him for victory in a tournament he is due to enter in Nigeria commencing later this week. The tournament will include the brightest prospects from West Africa to determine the highest ranked players in the region.
Michael has been working closely with International Tennis Federation trained coach and United Through Sport’s Tennis placement coordinator, Yaya. Yaya volunteers his time without pay to aid the development of Tennis in Ghana, helping children of all ages excel in the sport. He is helped by the wonderful facilities at the National Tennis Centre in Accra. The 4 court complex, which is situated in the shadow of the 40,000 capacity Accra Sports Stadium and opposite the landmarks of Independence Square, are vital to the continued development of the sport. Yaya stakes the ambitious claim to have a Ghanaian breaking into the Top 10 World Rankings.
Yaya was speaking courtside at the Ghana Tennis Championships that were taking place in Accra. Many of the players qualifying for the latter rounds are still young and yet to reach their full potential. Key to the development of Tennis in Ghana is the small coastal town of Winneba in Ghana’s Central region, which is home to a State funded Tennis Academy and has 8 courts and hosts many National training camps whilst acting as a fully residential Academy for the brightest prospects.
Michael and Yaya also coach a large group of dedicated young beginners, who are lucky enough to use the same facilities as Ghana’s elite players. These children from underprivileged backgrounds rely on donations to provide the resources they couldn’t participate without; shoes, balls and rackets are expensive even by Western standards. In Ghana, contributions from United Through Sport and our beneficiaries are giving kids the chance to play, improve and hopefully compete internationally like Toshi and maybe one day become household names.