In a secluded spot in Equatorial Guinea by the beach, a little-known sport in this country is growing among the local population: the Padel. On a continent where sport is not the main priority, a Spaniard decided to make a personal adventure the development of Padel in Africa. Focus on Santiago Prieto and his club padel : Ukomba.

The conquest of Padel thanks to Santiago Prieto

This adventure comes from a Madrid native, Santiago Prieto, who is the director and manager of the private club of Ukomba: a unique sports facility for an offer of Padel in Equatorial Guinea.

The Martinez Hermanos company, which exports the main food products from Spain, owns the club of Padel. At the end of 2014, to motivate their teams through sport, the company decided to create a club of Padel. The Ukomba club is created.

Santiago Prieto arrived in 2015 when the club's designers set out to find educators and people to run the club on a daily basis. He therefore joined the Martinez Hermanos company in order to democratize the Padel with the local population and company employees.

The complexity of Padel in Africa

The Spanish food export company sent a request for candidacy to find educators from Padel willing to come and teach in Equatorial Guinea. And finally, Santiago Prieto was chosen from all the candidates.

This choice was motivated by the fact that he had a long relationship with the Padel and at the beginning, through tennis. Santiago gave lessons in several Madrid clubs such as the University of Alcala de Henares and Club Grimace Sports.

One of the investigators of the Padel in Ukomba explains that the search for a coach Padel was not easy despite significant professional and salary recognition, but it was necessary to provide guarantees regarding the situation in the country. After a certain number of interviews, the choice was made with Santiago.

The latter was honored to participate in the development of his sport abroad: “Cwas a meditated and risky decision. It was about leaving everything and embarking on a new professional and human adventure ».

After three years spent in Equatorial Guinea, Santiago testifies and tells us that it was " a unique experience that makes you grow humanly and professionally ».

Ukomba club: a benchmark project

The club offers four golf courses on the beach Padel with semi-indoor coverage. The sports complex also includes a swimming pool, a gymnasium, a football field, a basketball court, a snack bar, a Pro-Shop and children's play areas.

Santiago manages the administrative procedures, organizes events and carries out his own ranking. He explains that the majority of players are expatriates (Spanish, French, Italian ...).

Santiago organizes regular tournaments in order to continue promoting the Padel in Africa like a "king's tournament", inter-company tournaments with prestigious brands such as Coca-Cola, Estrella Damm and of course Martinez Hermanos.

The passion is really starting to take hold in this part of Africa. We are increasingly demanding the broadcast of the matches of the World Padel Tour.

It has been three years since Santiago Prieto went into exile in Equatorial Guinea, and the club is in a perennial situation, but he feels that for him, the adventure ends. " My situation is good, but in the near future, it will be certain that I will change my air ».

This decision to leave allowed the padel to develop in part of the African continent. The development of padel owes him a lot in this region. See you soon Santiago!

Alexis Dutour - Padel Magazine

Alexis Dutour

Alexis Dutour is passionate about padel. With his training in communication and marketing, he puts his skills at the service of padel to offer us articles that are always very interesting.