Six new teams have joined the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) Tennis League for the third consecutive season of the championship.
This much was revealed by the organisers of the league during the unveiling of this year’s teams and the draws recently at the Ikoyi Club 1930 in Lagos.
Naija Tennis Special also gathered that three new cities – Ekiti, Ibadan and Jos will host top level tennis this year, but the International Tennis Academy, organisers of the competition, say the League will feature 12 teams.
Eleven of the 14 teams will get automatic spots based on their collective team ranking while the three weakest teams will contest for the last spot in a playoff that will take place in Lagos a week before the main League starts.
To arrive at the team ranking, top 10 players get three points, top 20 two points and the rest one point each.
|Nigeria’s former vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme presenting the winner’s trophy to Sylvester Emmanuel after winning the 2016 edition of the league as Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung looks on.|
The Prize money has also been consolidated at N23 million with all the 12 teams getting logistics support of N500, 000 each. The winning team will get N7 million, the runner-up N5 million, the third place N3 million and the fourth place N2 million.
The League will as usual feature two groups – Blue and White – with the top two finishers emerging to play semifinals and on to the finals.
The Blue Group consists of 2015 champions, Team Civil Defence (Abuja); Team Kalotari (Port Harcourt); Team Muller (Lagos), Team Optiweb (Ilorin); Team VGC Lions (Lagos) and the Qualifier team from the playoffs.
The White Group will feature defending champions, Team Offikwu (Kaduna); Team Ndoma-Egba; Team Goshen (Ilorin); Team CBN Futures (Lagos); Team Oyetade (Ekiti) and Team Tech Vibe (Jos).
The three teams for the playoff are, Team Oluyole (Ibadan), Team Anambra (Onitsha), Team Police College (Ikeja).
The NCC Tennis League which debuted in 2015 aims to take topflight tennis to major cities of Nigeria, attract sponsorship to our elite players and prepare them for the ATP Circuit, raise the skill level of tennis players by providing regular competitions and more importantly empower our youth by enabling them to create wealth with their sporting talent.
Sylvester Emmanuel led his unknown Kaduna-based side, Team Offikwu, to victory last year against all odds but it is yet to be seen if he will be able to manage such feat again this year.