By Ebenezer Osamo –
Nigerian teenage tennis star, Sylvester Emmanuel, has been included among the players to prosecute next month’s World Team Cup (Davis Cup), Eyeonthesports.com can authoritatively report.
According to scribe of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, Mrs. Gloria Ukwemkpu, Emmanuel was included in the team based on his performance in recent tournaments within and outside the country.
She informed our correspondent that the Federation is also looking at giving the relatively younger players the exposure required at the highest level to ensure that they get better within a short period of time.
“The players to prosecute this year’s Davis Cup are Clifford Enosoregbe, Henry Atseye, Umaru Balami and Sylvester Emmanuel with Coach Benson Ishicheli as the non-playing captain of the side.
“We decided to include Emmanuel and Balamin because we want them to gain further experience as youngsters.
“Emmanuel has been very impressive in recent years and deservedly earned his call up to the tournament.
“He has played in national and international tournaments and has proven his worth against his more fancied opponents. Balami is also a former junior player who has grown through the ranks to dominate in his category for a while.
“This Davis Cup inclusion will definitely spur them to get better and catapult them to their desired places in their chosen sport,” Mrs. Ukwemkpu offered.
Meanwhile, National junior tennis coach, Ubale Mohammed, has expressed his excitement at the inclusion of Emmanuel in the team to prosecute the World Team Cup.
He stated that the idea of the NTF to give the younger players an opportunity at the bigger stage is quite commendable as he notes that it is the practice in other tennis-playing countries.
“It is a big encouragement for the players. It is a thing they should always be looking forward to. I am happy they are considering them for the Davis Cup at this age because it is the same practice in other countries.
“Youngsters within the ages of 14 & 16 play in the Davis Cup and you would expect that after two years, they are already to pros.
“Emmanuel has shown everybody what he can do with his stellar performances which has not go unrewarded. We can only expect him to get better,” an elated Ubale told Eyeonthesports.com.
It was also gathered that the players are presently training in their respective states ahead of the tournament for which Nigeria remains in the World Group III in the African Zone.
Emmanuel, who has been training in Switzerland on an ITF-sponsored trip, is expected to team up with his other compatriots before the tournament kicks-off.
The tournament is billed to hold in Cairo, Egypt from 8-14 September, 2014.