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NCC league will revolutionise Nigerian tennis, says Greensprings Schools’ executive director

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Ronke Akingbade of Team Muller was one of the architects of Team Mullers’ victory over VGC Lions at the on-going NCC Tennis League in Lagos…at the weekend.

Team Muller zooms into semifinal
Executive Director of Greensprings School, Lai Koiki, has described the decision by Nigeria Telecommunications Commission (NCC) to sponsor a tennis league as the best thing to happen to the nation’s sports in recent years.

For the third year running, the NCC Tennis League has given Nigerian players the opportunity to hone their talents and also pocket huge amounts of money at the end of the season. The NCC Tennis League started with eight clubs and graduated to 10 before the present 14 clubs.

Among other derivatives, the 2017 edition of the NCC Tennis League has astounding N17 million prize money, the highest in the history of tennis in the country.

Speaking in Lagos at the weekend, Koiki, a guest of honour at the Lagos leg of the league, which took place at the National Stadium, said the NCC Tennis League has taken the game to a higher level and urged the players and various clubs to make good use of the opportunity.

“I am really impressed with what I have seen here today. With this NCC Tennis League, the future looks very bright for Nigerian sports. The players should continue to work hard to be part of the success story because nothing good comes easy. I thank NCC for this wonderful initiative and I urge private organisations in Nigeria to join in this crusade of giving our sports a facelift,” Koiki stated

Meanwhile, Team Muller defeated Team VGC Lions 7-0 to secure a semifinal place in the NCC Tennis League with only one round robin match outstanding in the Blue Group. This was despite the sad news of Muller team member, Emmanuel Idoko losing his Mum and Dad the same week of the tie.

Idoko, who has proved to be a dependable support for the outstanding Joseph Imeh, lost his mum on the Tuesday preceding the tie but showed up for his match on Saturday against Martins Abamu, which he won 7-5, 6-1 only to get home to be confronted with the demise of his father.

The news caused a slight delay on the second day as the teams rallied to offer their support and condolences. Team Muller however had enough depth and resilience to complete the routing of fellow newcomers, Team VGC Lions.

In Ibadan and Abuja, Team Kalotari and Team Civil Defence won their ties to ensure a make or break tie for the second semifinal place when they meet in Port Harcourt on October 29.

Team Kalotari beat Team Oluyole 7-0 in Ibadan, while Team Civil Defence defeated Team Optiweb of Ilorin 6-1 in Abuja.

Emmanuel Sunday and Christian Paul of Team Kalotari won the singles matches on the first day by defeating Ganiyu Salami (2-6, 6-4, 6-0) and Wale Sampson (6-2, 6-3) respec tively. Blessing Samuel had very little resistance from Colleen Orji whom she defeated 6-2, 6-2 in the ladies’ singles. Ikechukwu Iloputa then paired Sunday to defeat the pair of Salami and Kunle Bamidele 6-3, 6-3.

A change of players by team Oluyole on the second day did not make any difference as Paul outclassed Ismail Adeshina 6-0, 6-1 and Sunday bested Wassiu Ibrahim 6-1, 6-2 in the reverse singles. The mixed doubles pair of Samuel and Paul completed the sweep by defeating the Team Oluyole pair of Orji and Sampson 6-2, 6-1.



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