Team Civil Defence, runner-up in the maiden edition of the NCC Tennis League last year, have started this year’s edition on a winning note by beating Team Hope in Asaba.
The star- studded Civil Defence team looked vunerable on the opening day when Team Hope’s No.1 player, Ikechukwu Iloputa upset former national champion Shehu Lawal 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 in the first men’s singles match but Babalola Abdulmumuni, also a former national champion leveled scores with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Paul Emmanuel. Christie Agugbom easily beat Abies Amadasun in the ladies singles 6-1, 3-2 rtd to give the Civil Defence a 2-1 lead.
Team Civil Defence further raised their level on the final day, winning the reverse singles, the men’s doubles and the mixed doubles to close the Tie 6-1.
In Ilorin, Team Goshen playing at the Kwara State Stadium were routed by Team Lead Way from Lagos which took an unassailable 4-0 lead on Saturday and finished off with the three points on offer on Sunday.
Umoru Balami of Lead Way beat Wale Babalola of Goshen 6-4, 6-2 in the opening match while Monday Igbinovia defeated Tosho Yusuf 6-2, 6-0 in the second match. Ronke Akingbade ranked No.5 followed with a a 6-0, 6-0 demolition of Rachel Adunoye in the Ladies singles.
The stiffest resistance from Team Goshen came in the men’s doubles where Niyi Ibiwoye and Layi Ifarinde pushed the pair of Igbinovia and Etim Ekanem but finally succumbed 6-4, 6-4.
Team Goshen and Team Hope have now lost two out of the four Ties they are expected to play in the White Group while Teams Kalotari, FCT and Civil Defence have a point each.
Two ties are scheduled for this weekend in Onitsha and Port Harcourt.
Team Anambra, reinforced with Clifford Enosoregbe and Michael Chima, will be hosting Team Offikwu from Kaduna which has National No. 2 Sylvester Emmanuel and women’s No. 3 Aanu Aiyegbusi, at the Onitsha Sports Club In the Blue Group.
In a White Group Tie, Team Kalotari of Port Harcourt, parading Nonso Madueke, Sunday Maku and Patience Onebamhoin, will be hosting Team FCT which has former national champion Thomas Otu, Emmanuel Sunday and Osaremen Airhunwhunde in their fold at the Port Harcourt club.
At the end of the round robin phase, the top two teams from each group qualify for the semifinal.
The NCC Tennis League is offering a total prize money of N17 million with the winning team taking home N7 million, runner-up N5 million, third place N3 million and the fourth place N2 million.