Andrew Oche, Nigeria’s number one professional golf player, on Tuesday called for regular tournaments and more corporate sponsorship for the game to develop in the country.
Oche made the call in an interview with newsmen in Lagos, on the effect of COVID-19 lockdown on golf.
“To be honest with you, coming out of lockdown is coming with it’s up and down, things are beginning to normalise and stabilise now.
“We are still obviously trying to get our feet back in terms of playing tournament in Nigeria, post lockdown, I think we have only played one or two professional tournaments in Nigeria.
“I personally have played on two European event, and couple of events at the Safari in Kenya, that qualified me for two European tours,’’ he said.
When asked how golfers are faring given the absence of regular tournament in the country, Oche, the winner of the 2020 Kitante Open, told newsmen that some of the golfers are currently playing in Cote d’ Ivoire.
“Back home it can be better, a lot of our guys are here in Cote d’ Ivoire, that’s to tell you how much people are willing to compete, we have about 10 Nigerians playing the Ivorian Open.
“We hope that we can continue to keep the flag of the country flying, and we hope that we can have more tournaments to play at home,’’ he said.
He stressed the need for private and corporate organisations to support golf by organising regular competitions to help players sharpen their competitive skills.
“We cannot over emphasis the need for sponsorship for this game to thrive, we have the First Bank Open that has being running for decades, imagine if we have more.
“The future of professional golfers depends on a lot of commitment from stakeholders, players and potential sponsors,’’ the number one ranked player said.