The group phase of the NCC Tennis League was concluded over the weekend in six cities with Team Offikwu of Kaduna and Team Leadway Assurance fo Lagos emerging from the White Group while Team Tech Vibes of Jos led the White Group with Team Goshen of Ilorin clinching the second spot.
In their final group ties, Team Tech Vibes already sure of a semifinal place before the final tie, took no chances as they came out in full force to rout Team Kalotari on their home turf in Port Harcourt 5 – 2.
With Goshen and Kalotari on three points, a win by the Port Harcourt based team would have seen them through to the semifinals on a superior matches won and lost consideration. Goshen had an easy tie againat Team Anambra in Ilorin to chalk up their points to four but the jubilation in Ilorin after Tech Vibes got the upset win reverberated all the way to Port Harcourt.
“We are very happy with the organisation and fairness of the competition.” Bola Amurawaiye, team manager of Goshen who could hardly contain his joy said amid tears.
“For Team Tech Vibes of Jos to beat a formidable team like Kalotari away shows how fair the officiating and organisation is. You cannot imagine what could happen if it was a Nigerian Football League decider with N7 million at stake.”
Team Leadway Assurance and Team Offikwu also had relatively easy final matches.
Team Leadway Assurance defeated Team Luik of Lekki – Lagos 5-2 in a local derby while Team Offikwu, playing in Abuja because of the unrest in Kaduna overpowered Team Yetade of Ekiti 7 – 0.
However, the highlight of the final ties was the young lads of Team CBN Futures earning their first ever point by beating Team Orofina of Warri 4-3. The team of top junior players has been knocking on the door of success for a while playing close matches against senior players but losing in final sets. This time they rode their luck.
Godgift Timibra started with a 3-6, 6-3, 11-9 win over Nurudeen Adebisi of Team Orofina but Endurance Ehi leveled scores with a tight 6-3, 3-6, 12-10 defeat of Michael Oshewa.
Junaid Mohammed put the CBN Futures team ahead again by beating Orofina’s Gege Iveren 6-1, 6-1 before the combination of Timibra and Oshewa combined to win the men’s doubles against Ehi and Jerry Spencer 6-3, 7-5 to extend their lead to 3-1.
The CBN Futures team secured an unassailable 4-1 lead on the second day with Timibra beating Spencer 6-0, 7-5 in the first reverse singles.
The other team of youngsters made up of intermediates, Team Next Gen, also secured an away win in Jos where they beat Team SBL 5-2. The Abuja based team had earlier in the series defeated Team Yetade in Abuja 4-3 to bag two points to ensure a decent placement in the White Group.
The first semifinals will pitch Team Tech Vibe against Team Leadway Assurance in Enugu, Wednesday November 28 and Thursday November 29 while the second semifinal will hold in Abuja Saturday December 1 and Sunday December 2.
The third place and the final ties will take place at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club Thursdsy December 6 to Sunday December 9.
The competition which is run by the International Tennis Academy is offering a total prize money of N23 million with the champion team going home with N7 million.