Kaduna-based Team Offikwu has vowed to beat the Civil Defence team when they meet this weekend at the Abuja National Stadium Tennis Centre to stop a repeat final between Team Civil Defence and Team Tombim.
The team’s manager, Innocent Offikwu, who called in from the Clark Francis Tennis Academy in Dubai where he is undergoing some coaching courses, said his team was determined to achieve an upset win.
|Sylvester Emmanuel will be a thorn in the flesh of the Team Civil Defence players.|
Team Tombim which is based in Abuja has already qualified for the finals by defeating Team FCT 6-1 in the first semifinals played in Enugu last week.
He said: “The players have been in camp since they qualified for the semifinals and are ready to play their hearts out on the court. I have told them to remain focused and not allow anything or anybody to distract them.
“We are playing against a very strong team with very experienced former champions like Abdulmumuni Babalola and Shehu Lawal who have Davis Cup experience . They also have women’s champion Christie Agugbom but we have younger players who are current champions and that can be the difference. I have told them I am coming back to Nigeria to watch the finals if they go through.”
Offikwu’s optimism is well founded as the team has the current Dala Hard Court Champion, Sylvester Emmanuel to lead the onslaught. Emmanuel will be backed by Albert Bikom, a doubles specialist who says: “I can beat anybody in singles if I am charged and N7 million is enough to charge any one.”
The team also has Aanu Aiyegbusi, with a top five women’s singles ranking who has never beaten Agugbom in her career but is also priming to pull-off an upset.
Asked to comment about a possible upset by Team Offikwu, Agugbom who arrived Abuja since Tuesday to “acclimatize”, said: “We shall meet on the court.”
The matches are scheduled to start at 10 am with Solomon Dalung, Nigeria’s minister of Youth and Sports Development expected to be at the event as the special guest of honour.
Professor Umar Danbatta, the executive vice chairman off the NCC and Nigeria’s tennis great, Nduka Odizor, are also attending as guest of honour and special guest respectively.