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The sensational Lagos Trenko will be a major absentee at the national final of the World Corporate Golf Challenge next week. Its absence has forced almost the entire team to switch into other camps.
The team, owned by Tunji Adebayo, won the title last year at Ibom Resort in Uyo and wound up in fifth as Nigeria’s representative at the world corporate final in South Africa later in the year.
Key members of the team, including Remi Olukoya, Chris Obije and Muyideen Olaitan, have found accommodation with O and A Consulting for the 36-hole final billed for the plush Ibom golf course March 26-27.
It remains to be seen how the absence of Trenko will affect the mood of the Global Golf tournament.
Aside last year, Trenko won the marquee 2006 edition in Lagos with the likes of Uyi Akpata, Ayo Fashiku, Adebayo and Austin Ojomo, to set up a trip to the world final in Malaysia.
Olaitan told us last night that 75 per cent of the team jumped ship when their participation was mired in doubt.
“We left because we did not get to learn if the owner (Adebayo) was interested in playing this year”, he said.
The former Lagos Open champion, however, insisted that O and A Consulting was the team to beat with the calibre of single- digit-handicap players it has enlisted.
“When you look at our overall quality and the fact we won last year on the same course, it won’t be out of place to tip us as the clear favourites next week. It is still the same team, except that Tim (Ayonmike) is not with us, why Abu has joined us,” Olaitain said.
According to him the knowledge of the country’s longest course should aid their quest.
“Ibom is a beautiful but very challenging course. You don’t rely on pure luck to win over there; you have to be focused and know what you want to be in commanding position. Apart from that, as the defending champions, we have local knowledge,” he said.
The corporate challenge is a 36-hole event structured as a stabbleford format with the players playing off their handicap.
About 29 teams will grace the tournament, network and savour experience of the benchmark but challenging Ibom course.
Executive Director of Diamond Bank, Dozie Uzoma will lead a team from the bank with John Ayuba and Akin Pierce as the other members.
The South African and Botswana envoys to Nigeria will feature for one of the Eriksson teams.
The winner of the tournament will represent Nigeria at the world final in Georges, South Africa.