NCC TENNIS LEAGUE
Defending champions Team Tombim were pushed to the limit by debutantes Team Lead Way in a Blue Group clash which took place at the National Stadium Surulere over the weekend. The Abuja based team however squeezed through 3-2 overall to strengthen their stake for a semifinal berth.
National champion Moses Michael, playing for Tombim, had to dig deep to recover from losing the first set 6-2 (trailed 0-4) to beat Joseph Imeh 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. Lead Way’s Monday Igbinovia then cancelled the lead by also recovering from a disastrous first set to beat Christopher Edwards 0-6, 6-4, 7-5.
In the women’s singles, Sarah Adegoke (Tombim) overcame a highly determined Ronke Akingbade 6-3, 7-5 while Lead Way took the men’s doubles with Igbinovia and Mohamed Mohamed edging Michael and Christian Paul 6-4, 4-6, 11-9 to end the opening day tied 2-2.
Both teams split the singles on the final day with Michael expectedly beating Igbinovia 6-2, 6-2 and Imeh upsetting Paul 6-4, 6-1 to push the tie to a decider.
Team Tombim, using their lead players Michael and Adegoke won the decisive mixed doubles against Igbinovia and Akingbade in straight sets.
Team Tombim now leads the group with two wins and no loss while Team Lead Way has one win and a loss to place third in the group.
In Ilorin, Team Offikwu from Kaduna parading top national players – Sylvester Emmanuel, Emmanuel Idoko, Albert Bicom and Aanu Aiyegbusi proved too strong for the Ilorin based Team Goshen.
Team Offikwu overwhelmed Team Goshen 7- 0 in a well attended tie that was watched by the Kwara State commisioner of sports, Khale Ayo Nuhu and director of sports, Tunde Kazeem.
Team Offikwu now holds second position with two wins and one loss.
Reacting to the one-sided scoreline, Goshen team coordinator, Adewale Obalola said: “It is a good experience for our boys and girls to see how advanced Nigerian tennis has become since this league started last year. They can now appreciate how much hard work they have to put in to attain the kind of level they have seen in this match. The coaches do not have to beg any of the players to train, they are now self motivated and we can see the players improving with every tie,”
The next match for Goshen will be in Abuja next weekend where they take on defending champions Tombim.
“We know Tombim is also a strong team but it is good for our players to compete against the best and it will help us develop our junior program too.” Obalola said.
Other matches for the weekend of Nov. 5 to Nov. 6 are Team Kalotari versus Team Hope of Asaba at the Port Harcourt Club and Team Civil Defence against Team CBN Futures at the Murtala Square in Kaduna.
The NCC Tennis league is fast becoming a delight for spectators as the sponsors have incorporated raffle draws for android phones and other gift items as well as consumer affairs platforms at all venues to attend to phone users with issues. Spectators also get free refreshments at all venues from support sponsors Coca-cola.