Saah and a friend after practice

Kandakai in Sectional Q-Finals

By: 
Leroy M. Sonpon, III

Liberia’s 13-year-old tennis gem, Saah Kandakai has reached the quarterfinals in his first Sectional Tennis Tournament in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States.

Saah’s participation in the Sectional Tournament is owing to his ability level.

Prior to his sectional tennis debut, New Jersey.com said in March-2014, Saah participated in the National Junior Tennis & Learning of Trenton (NJTLT), sponsored by Noah Lilienthal, a 14-year-old nationally ranked tennis player.

According to the website, Lilienthal expressed his elation of helping Saah who he described as his friend.

“I realize how much opportunity I have, because my parents help me around to play tournaments,” Lilienthal said. “Some kids don’t have that opportunity. The goal was to take him to tournaments with my mom and I, so he could have opportunities that he would otherwise not have.”

The NJ.com said: “With the help of NJTLT staff, he (Saah) is driven to a Princeton University clinic twice a week with Lilienthal and supplements that with the NJTLT’s Ashe program.”

Saah, an eighth-grader at the St. Michael Catholic High School, left for the USA on June 26, 2013 for tennis training at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Naples, Florida through the help of the Mamba Point Hotel and the Oceano Casino.

In 2012, Saah was also sent to Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona, Spain.

Mamba Point Hotel manager, Bsaibes Thawty said his support to Saah is aimed to help him become a professional player.

Mrs. Anna Bsaibes, of Mamba Point Hotel, also said: "We are going to develop this young and talented tennis star’s skills at one of the world’s best tennis academies where such great stars like Roger Federar, Rafael Nadah and Andy Murray attended."

Saar’s father is International Tennis federation, ITF Level 2 coach. He introduced his son to the sport at age 5, at the Buduburam Refugee Center in Ghana.

Liberian Observer

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