Although the tie only serves to determine third and fourth place in the White Group both teams are giving it there best shot and the NCC Is taking the opportunity to relaunch the league in Kaduna.
In the opening match, Emmanuel Paul of FCT beat Michael Michael 6-4, 6-0 while Emmanuel Sunday doubled the lead by edging Emmanuel Idoko 7-6, 6-4 in the second men’s singles.
|Young Edwards was the cynosure of all eyes during the matches decided at the weekend|
FCT’s men’s doubles team of Sunday and Mohammed Mohammed restored the two point cushion with a narrow 6 -1, 2-6, 10-6 win.
The tie which is taking place at the Murtala Square in Kaduna will be concluded Sunday from 10am with two reverse men’s singles matches and a mixed doubles match.
Little Marylove Edwards was the star of the NCC Tennis League match between the CBN Futures team and Team FCT which ended in Kaduna on Sunday but the two points she made was not enough to overturn the 3-1 lead Team FCT had secured on the opening day.
Edward got the first point in the ladies’ singles on Saturday by beating Faith Samuel 6-2, 6-0 and then paired Emmanuel Idoko in the mixed doubles to outlast the sibling pair of Emmanuel Sunday and Faith Samuel 1-6, 6-1, 10-8.
The national 14 and under champion after a shaky start in the first set, stood up to the hard hitting and hard serving Sunday, ranked No.6 in Nigeria, returning most of his second serves and wrong-footing him at crucial moments – moves which drew loud applause from the spectators.
Her morale was further boosted by the presence of CBN officials who came to watch the tie from Abuja.
|Mr. Godwin Kienka (far right), during the press briefing to announce the NCC Tennis League at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Lagos|
CBN Futures coach, Innocent Offikwu, who is leaving for Dubai to improve his coaching skills at the Clarke Francis Academy said: “the players have been gaining confidence and improving with every tie. We lost 7-0 to Team Ogun in the first tie and then 6-1 to Team Kalotari, winners of the White Group. And now a close 3-4 against the FCT is very encouraging.
“The aim of throwing the juniors into this senior event is to fast track their progress and we are achieving results”.
The tie was to determine third and fourth place in the White Group but Coach Sunday Samuel said the FCT team took it very seriously, “because it will be unthinkable to be beaten by these young lads”.
Adding, “I expected more from my team especially in the mixed doubles and ladies singles”.
The NCC Tennis league now moves into the knockout phase with Blue Group leaders Team Civil Defence taking on White Group runners-up, Team Ogun in the first semifinals in Port Harcourt.
The League which is run by the International Tennis Academy is offering a total prize money of N11million with the winning team taking away N5million while the runner-up gets N3million.
It has also succeeded in taking topflight tennis to many states and cities which otherwise would not have hosted such tournaments.