The 2018 NCC Tennis League will serve off on Saturday, 22 September with four new teams joining the chase for glory in the yearly tennis fiesta.
The four new entrants, Team SBL, Team Luik Vipers, Team Leadway Assurance and Team Orofina will join the eight existing teams as the league kicks off in eight centres across the country.
The 12 registered teams were grouped into White and Blue colours with each group accommodating six teams. The White Group comprises Team Tech Vibe, Team Goshen, Team Kalotari, Team CBN, Team Orofina and Team Anambra, while Team Leadway Assurance, Team Offikwu, Team Luik, Team Yetade, Team Next Generation (NextGen) and Team SBL make up the Blue Group.
Last year champions, Team Civil Defence will take no part as it has been disbanded, with her players now spread across other teams.
Team Tech Vibe of Jos, who made their debut last year, will fancy their chances of dominating the White Group with Nigeria’s No.1, Joseph Imeh, who lost only one singles match throughout the competition last year when he played for Team Muller, Thomas Otu, who guided the defunct Team Ndoma-Egba to a fourth place finish last year as well as the tenacious Aanu Aiyegbusi leading the charge for glory.
Team Leadway Assurance, meanwhile, has Abdulmumin Babalola, Clifford Enosoregbe, who were part of Team Civil Defence and Nigeria’s No.1, Sarah Adegoke leading its pack. Sarah Adegoke was the most outstanding player of the 2017 edition as she didn’t lose a singles match all through. The 20-year-old sensation will seek to continue her incredible winning streak when she takes to court in Leadway colours.
Team SBL, a new team sponsored by Governor Lalung of Plateau state, will join Team Tech Vibe in Jos; Team Leadway Assurance will be based in Lagos; Team Orofina is sponsored by an NGO from the South-South, while Team Next Gen are backed by a group of tennis enthusiasts in Abuja.
Tournament organizer, Mr. Godwin Kienka, who aslo doubles as the director of the International Tennis Academy said the new ATP rule of deciding the final set of 10-point tiebreaker would apply in the competition which, like always, will be played in a round-robin format.
Kienka also stated that, “the players will have to travel to different cities playing week after week. This will enhance their performance in the Governor’s Cup [Lagos Open], and in the series of tournaments they are going to have in the first quarter of next year.”
The Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communication Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta lauded the effectiveness of the tournament, which is in its fourth edition, saying it has provided a platform for the development of talents in the country.
“It is an opportunity for all players to ply their trade in the quest to be the best throughout the duration of the tournament.
“Our choice to continue to sponsor this tournament is guided principally by our commitment to be a good corporate citizen and to invest in the development and sharpening of skill of our countrymen.
“To provide a level playing field for players to develop their skills to the point of making a living with this sport and also doing the nation proud.
The NCC Tennis League is a 24-week tournament and will be played in eight different locations across the country.