By: Ridwan Adeola Yusuf

Young ones are now developing interest in the noble game of squash – a sport which is gradually finding it’s feet in Africa’s most populous nation. In this era; in this region, Headwaters Squash Academy is where the work begins!

Nigeria’s Shakiru Matti is impressing, with his Canada-based squash academy. Shakiru Matti-esque sport institutes are needed locally. One is notable in the country, and that is Headwaters Squash Academy.

In racket sports most especially, children need to be prepared early. This because, understanding the basics of the game, at the basic is sine qua non of success. 3-4 year olds are already developing hand-eye coordination, skills and setting a preference for left or right handedness. They are capable of many of the athletic movements needed to be successful in most sports. They can learn to run, jump, stop and turn.

Teachings targeted at raising champions for squash is consummated at Headwaters Squash Academy, Lagos, Nigeria.

Headwaters Squash Academy offers coaching and other events throughout the calendar year. The academy started with the intent to grow squash in Nigeria, in a fun, organized and sustainable manner.

Headwaters Squash Academy, a subsidiary of Headwaters Sports, began eight years ago on November 26 at Police College, Ikeja, with a vision to provide the ultimate environment for squash players to flourish. The objective remains the same till today. Over the years, the academy has evolved into a place where junior players most especially, can benefit and reach their goals.

Future stars at Headwaters Squash Academy

They deliver progressive coaching methods to young boys and girls. Importantly, their lessons are designed around the abilities and needs of the players. Thereby ensuring a fun and relaxed environment with a clear focus on progression each week.

Having played at a high level professionally, Technical Director and Head coach, Seun Peters has drawn on his experiences in the competitive domain, and blends this with knowledge gained from the squash world and the wider world outside the sport.

Peters had previously worked with US-based duo of Adewale Amao and Babatunde Ajagbe. With Amao, he was the erstwhile national number one personal coach. And with current Nigeria number one (male), Ajagbe, he was fitness coach in 2007.

Peters, also an approved referee, have coached Niger state pair – Abubakar Adamu and Chidi Kalu. At different times, both were under-19 champions.

In addition, Peters helped built Lagos state team from 2012 to 2017 as a contract trainer. During this period, Lagos squash team won gold at Eko 2012 (National Sports Festival). He is a national coach and secretary to Nigeria Police team.

With his rich experience, he give pupils the most effective teaching possible at their traning centres at Police College Squash Court and Squash section of the Lagos Country Club, both in the heart of Lagos – Ikeja.

Conscientious and passionate coach as Peters is key part of the development of players who attend Headwaters Squash Academy sessions. With him, training is enjoyable.

Headwaters players and coach Peters (first from right) at the 1st Olusegun Obasanjo National Squash Open
Headwaters players to the 1st Olusegun Obasanjo National Squash Open

One of Peters’ prize players is Desmond Iguodala. The lad who graduates to the senior category this month is one of the two pioneer pupils of Headwaters Squash Academy – the other being Biodun Adigun. Although, tennis was his initial interest, he was wooed into the game of squash by Peters at 12. Among his achievements are runners-up at the just-concluded Obasanjo National Open (U-19), runners-up at the 2013 U-16 South-West tournament and national U-19 champion at the 2015 Bi-Courtney Squash Championship.

Headwaters Squash Academy squad at the Junior Ranking Tournament held in Ikoyi, Lagos recently

Headwaters Squash Academy is not alone. There are people who know the value of ‘catching them young’ and grooming them. The Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF), as led by Boye Oyerinde has been immensely supportive. It is noteworthy that even before Oyerinde came on board, he assists the academy. Similarly, NSF General Secretary, Samuel Aminu has been a father. Not forgetting NSF board members, Alhaji Yinka Durosinlorun and Mr. Uche Ubah.

A thank you visit from HEADWATERS to the MD, Royal Sanderton Group, Mr. Muyiwa Fagbemi.
Headwaters Technical Director and Head coach, Seun Peters (1st from left); players Desmond Iguodala (2nd from left) and Clinton Iguodala (first from right)
Mr Fagbemi (2nd from right) is one of the trustees and a major sponsor of the academy for the first half of the year.

Worthy of mention too are Mr. Muyiwa Fagbemi, the Managing Director of Royal Sanderton Group and Mr. Klaus Okunowski, the Managing Director of C. Woermann Nigeria Limited.

Mr. Okunowski (first from left) sponsored Headwaters team to the 1st Olusegun Obasanjo Squash Championship

Mr. Fagbemi, a major patron, supported the academy for the first half of the year, while Mr. Okunowski is the sponsor of the academy to the 1st Obasanjo National Open which ended yesterday in Abeokuta.

At Headwaters Academy, one thing is sure: the love of the game of squash is instilled into children and wards. While making the game fun, they as well provide the technical foundation for future competitive success. Innovative instructional techniques to develop both children’s interest in squash and a high skill level in their squash game is guaranteed. Safe to say they’ve got the magic!

 

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