Ebenezer Osamo Reporting Live From Abuja –
Nigeria’s domineering performance at the ongoing African Junior Championship, AJC qualifiers for the West and Central African zone, continued as the second leg of the event served off on Thursday.
The tournament which is being held at the Package B section of the National Stadium in Abuja, saw the Nigerian players win most of their matches in both the male and female categories.
Winner of the Girl’s U-16 in the first leg, Elizabeth Pam of Nigeria, continued with her impressive record when she outclassed fellow Nigerian, Faith Sunday, in straight sets of 6-1, 6-4. The tie between another Nigerian pair of Zainab Oladimeji and Fortune Anisio in the same category, ended in favour of Oladimeji who won 6-2, 6-3.
However, the power-playing Gabonese, Ella Avomo, showed her class in the girls’ U-14 as she defeated Nigeria’s Joyce Blessing, 6-1, 3-0 (rtd). While in the same category, Petit Barakat Quadri created what looked like an upset when she defeated South-Africa based Adetayo Adetunji in straight sets of 6-2, 6-4 just as Malian Djeneba Diarra beat Nigeria’s Charity Patrick, 6-3, 6-3.
Winner of the U-12 boys’ event in the first leg; Nigeria’s Michael Osewa won again as he was no match for Musa Sanni, also from Nigeria, whom he defeated 6-3, 6-0, while Friday Gabriel defeated Daniel Joshua 6-3, 6-1 in an all Nigerian affair.
In the boys’ U-14 matches, Michael Ayoola from Nigeria proved too much for Senegal’s Amadou Balde as he won 6-2, 6-3, while Aliyou Arzika and Anozie Chidera both from Nigeria outstroked Abdoulaziz Batiano (CIV) and Doudou Gaye (MLI), 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 and 6-4, 6-2 respectively.
Nigeria’s Martins Abamu came from behind to defeat John Marah from Sierra Leone, 2-6, 6-0, 6-1 in the U-16 category.
In arguably the star match of the day, soft playing Godsgift Timibra of Nigeria, was stretched to his limits by hard hitting Yacouba Maiga from Mali but it was Timibra who carried the day as he battled to a 1-6,6-4,6-3 win.
The match which lasted for about three hours was watched by excited fans, majority of who were Nigerians and they rooted for the seemingly weak Timibra.
A visibly disappointed Maiga, who could not communicate in English, simply told eyeonthesports.com after the energy-sapping encounter that, “I lost, I am not happy”.
The player’s coach , Drame Sekou, blamed fatigue for his boy’s loss while he refused to concede defeat to the Nigerian player.
He said: “Yes, my boy lost but he did not play badly. There was too much stress going into the latter stages of the match and his fitness and technicality was obvious for everyone around to see”.
Action resumes on Saturday morning when the other matches in the round robin series will be concluded, and eventual winners moving to the quarter-final stage of the competition monitored by the International Tennis Federation, ITF and the Confederation of African Tennis, CAT.