Team Civil Defence, yesterday in Lagos defeated Team Muller 4-0 to emerge winner of the 2017 NCC Tennis Cup for the first time, and it saw them cart away the grand prize of N7 million.
It was a match that was billed unpredictable. Joseph Imeh hadn’t lost a single match all season for Team Muller and was in immense form; Team Civil Defence’s Abdulmumuni Babalola, Clifford Enosorogbe, Michael Chima were all on a rampage. And so, it promised to be an intense affair. It nearly lived up to expectations, but nature and a dose of luck played a part in Team Civil Defence’s landslide victory.
Joseph Imeh squared off with Nigeria’s no. 1, Abdulmumuni Babalola in the 1st Men’s Singles. Imeh led 6-4 in the first set and was tied 4-4 in the second before rain interrupted. Babalola then took advantage of the respite the rain provided to turn the tables, beating Joseph Imeh 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.
In the 2nd Men’s Singles, Clifford Enosorogbe, too, bounced back from a set down to defeat Emmanuel Idoko 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The national women’s champion, Christie Agugbom then stretched the lead to 3-0 in the Ladies Singles as she beat a broken-hearted Ronke Akingbade 6-4, 6-2.
The Men’s Doubles became the decisive match as a win for Team Muller would kick-in the two men’s reverse singles while a win by Team Civil Defence would establish an unassailable 4-0 lead.
Babalola and Enosoregbe put up a spirited performance against the pair of Imeh and Mohammed Mohammed winning 7-6, 2-6, 11-9 to avoid Reverse Singles matches which would have favoured their opponents.
This final victory brought to an end months of nationwide lively and competitive tennis matches as well as anxiety and healthy enthusiasm that also characterised the atmosphere at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club during the weekend where the final matches were played.
Speaking at the grande finale of the tournament, the executive vice chariman of the Nigerian Communication Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Research and Development Department at NCC, Mrs. Abigail Sholanke, said: “The impact, which this tournament has made in the Nigerian tennis circuit gives us in the NCC a lot of satisfaction and fulfillment and we are proud to have used this opportunity to engage a number of Nigerian youth in very fruitful and engaging enterprise with a bright future outlook.
“We are even prouder to have taken quality tennis to different locations in the country and to see the players improving by the day due to the regular competitions the league offers,” she added.
Also, participating teams left the courts with amazing prizes. Team Muller, the runner-up won N5 Million, Team Offikwu who came third after they beat Team Ndoma-Egba 6-1 got N3 Million prize; and Team Ndoma Egba, that finished in fourth place left with N2 Million.