Kaduna-based Team Offikwu has qualified for the finals of the 2018 NCC Tennis League Cup.
In a very tense tie played at the Abuja Tennis Centre over the weekend, Team Offikwu overpowered Team Goshen of Ilorin 5-2 and now await the second semifinal tie between Team Leadway Assurance and Team Tech Vibes of Jos currently going on at the Enugu Sports Club.
Team Offikwu, champions in 2016, took the first two men’s singles through Christian Paul who edged Emmanuel Sunday 3-6, 6-2, 10-1 and Sylvester Emmanuel who beat Emmanuel Sunday, 6-4, 6-1 to lead 2-0 but then succumbed to a spirited fight back from the Ilorin – based outfit.
Blessing Samuel defeated Christie Agugbom 7-6, 6-4 to take the ladies’ singles while the pair of Joseph Adim and Sunday won a very entertaining doubles match against Emmanuel and Paul 7-6, 5-7, 10-8 to level scores on the first day.
A rattled Team Offikwu came back on the second day to win a decisive fifth match between Paul and Oparaoji 3-6, 6-2, 10-1 to go ahead 3-2 and national No.2 Sylvester Emmanuel sealed the spot with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Emmanuel Sunday.
“We completely under-rated them” Emmanuel, the top player of the team said. “We never expected to lose the doubles because Paul and I just won the doubles title at the Dala Hard court and reached the final of the Rain oil championship doubles. So how could we lose to a team which is not seeded in the country? But, that is team competition for you. Looking ahead, Emmanuel said:
“We are ready for whichever team emerges from Enugu. We do not have a preference because both Leadway Assurance and Tech Vibes have very good players.” the ATP ranked player popularly called the ‘Major’, said.
The finals of the League is scheduled to take place at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club Thursday, December 6 through to Sunday, December 9 with the champion team carting home N7 million.