Team Nigeria at the weekend in Abuja opened camping for the 2017 ITF/CAT Africa Junior Championship holding from March 25 to April 1st in Pretoria, South Africa with five players.
The Pretoria-bound players are Michael Osewa, Michael Ayoola, Matthew Abamu, David Dawariye and Marylove Edward.
However, there was a big blow for the team, which topped the overall medals table at the Zonal Championship held in January in Lome, Togo, with star player, Oyinlomo Quadri, forced out of the week-long tournament due to injury sustained in a tournament in Morocco on Thursday.
The 13-year-old Quadri has the best record in junior tennis in Africa in the last two years, which has helped her from non-ranked status to the top 300 in the world, but her dream of adding the AJC crown to her collection of titles will have to wait for at least another year.
“She fell and had a fracture on her wrist while playing a tournament in Morocco, which is part of preparation for the AJC. It’s a big blow to Nigeria because Oyin is one of the players tipped to win in the 14 and under category,” Nigeria’s coach, Mohammed Ubale, lamented.
Ubale is however optimistic of Nigeria posting a good outing, hinging his optimism on the recent CBN and SNEPCO tournaments in Lagos.
“All the players are in great shape and are in competition mood. They all featured in tournaments in recent weeks and have also been training hard,” he submitted.
In the absence of Quadri, Osewa, who was a finalist at the last edition in the boy’s 14 and under, shoulders Nigeria’s hope for a memorable outing after scooping back-to-back titles at the 2017 CBN and SNEPCO junior tournaments.
He will be playing in the 16 and under category.
The team is scheduled to depart for South Africa on Wednesday.
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