It promises to be something you probably have never witnessed: Two newcomers. Some of the very best players. One final berth.
The unpredictability that comes with this one is second to none, and that’s what makes it all the more interesting.
Team Muller of Lagos and Team Ndoma-Egba of Abuja will square off at the Enugu Sports Club, Enugu, this weekend – 18 & 19 November for the first semi-final match of the NCC Tennis Cup.
This Enugu tie is one that’s bound to rekindle memories of the glory days of tennis in Enugu – a city that produced great players like Patrick Obi, Esther Onyekwelu, Cecilia Nnadozie, Kyrian Nwokedi and Nnamdi Ehirim in more recent times.
Coming into this tie, both teams have had a fine run to the semis. Team Muller, though, have been more ruthless; scoring a perfect 5 in the Blue Group, making away grounds look like their habitat and turning their home ground into hell for visiting teams. Well, you expect nothing less from a team that boast players the rank of Joseph Imeh, who’s a 2017 Senior CBN finalist, and one of only two players to win all of his Men’s Singles matches so far; also, Emmanuel Idoko, Mohammed Mohammed, and highly ranked female player – Ronke Akingbade.
Team Ndoma-Egba, save their 5-2 loss to table toppers Team Offikwu in the White Group, have also been a force to reckon with.
Home to top players like Aanu Aiyegbusi and former national champion, Thomas Otu, who is the other player to win all of his Men’s Singles matches, the Abuja-based team will certainly be looking to halt Team Muller’s ruthlessness and advance to the final.
A task too difficult? We’ll see.
Team Ndoma-Egba’s Thomas Otu had one over Emmanuel Idoko of Team Muller at the recently concluded Governor’s Cup, a match he won 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 to qualify for the Main Draws. And, Idoko will certainly be looking to avenge the defeat when he comes up against Thomas Otu in the semis. Otu, on the other hand, is in scintillating form at the moment, and having not lost a Men’s Singles game in the league so far, would be looking to inflict more damage on Idoko. It will be a mouthwatering clash between these two.
In the Ladies, the expected match-up will be between Team Muller’s Ronke Akingbade and Aanu Aiyegbusi of Team Ndoma-Egba.
Last year, Aiyegbusi, playing for Team Offikwu, recovered from a set and 1-5 down to beat Akingbade, then of Team Leadway in the decider in Kaduna. Both players certainly have something to prove, and tennis fans who are storming Enugu from all parts of the country will be treated to a tennis masterclass, surely!
All teams in the semi-finals are guaranteed a sum of N2 million each.
This match is live from the Enugu Sports Club, Saturday 18 from 10am.