Ba­balola, Imeh ri­valry high­lights NCC Ten­nis League opener

Daily Trust - - ISLAMIC FORUM - By Orkula Shaagee

The Nige­rian Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (NCC) 2017 Ten­nis League opener tak­ing place at the Abuja Na­tional Sta­dium Saturday Au­gust 5 and Sun­day Au­gust 6 will fur­ther high­light the emerg­ing ri­valry be­tween fast ris­ing Joseph Imeh of Team Muller and for­mer na­tional cham­pion, Ab­dul­mu­muni Ba­balola, of Team Civil De­fence.

Ba­balola and Imeh met in the fi­nals of the pres­ti­gious CBN Se­nior Open Cham­pi­onships a cou­ple of months ago with the ‘vet­eran’ win­ning 6-3, 6-4 in a match the young­ster, play­ing his first ever se­nior fi­nals, failed to find the form that took him to the cham­pi­onship match.

“I think it is go­ing to be dif­fer­ent this time around” said Imeh, drip­ping sweat from a heavy work­out. “The team cham­pi­onship is usu­ally dif­fer­ent for me be­cause I tend to play my best game. Last year I beat Sylvester Em­manuel in Kaduna and won all my sin­gles matches. “How­ever, I know Ba­balola is in very good form and has a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence as a Davis Cup player…. we shall see,” Imeh said.

Team Civil De­fence, win­ners of the 2015 edi­tion also have in their ranks Clif­ford Enosoregbe, an­other for­mer na­tional No.1 who has re­dis­cov­ered his form and Christie Agug­bom, the lead­ing fe­male player in Nige­ria who will be seek­ing to avenge her up­set loss to Ronke Ak­ing­bade at the CBN Se­nior Cham­pi­onships.

The tie will fea­ture two men’s sin­gles matches with re­verses, one ladies’ sin­gles, one men’s dou­bles and a mixed dou­bles.

The league, the first of its kind in Africa, is offering a con­sol­i­dated prize money of N23 mil­lion with the cham­pion team bag­ging N7 mil­lion. It will also take topflight ten­nis to 12 cities in Nige­ria up from 10 last year.

The Hon­ourable Min­is­ter of Sports, Solomon Dalung and the Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Chair­man/ CEO of the NCC, Prof. Umar Dan­batta, are ex­pected to serve-off the cham­pi­onship which starts at 10 am on Saturday.

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