The Nigerian team to the ITF/CAT African Junior Circuit Under-14 event in Lome, Togo, has been deep in action in the first leg of the tournament, which began on 30 March.
In the Boys’ category, Suleiman Ibrahim, who clinched Gold at the U-14 AJC regional qualifiers in January, has been in scintillating form so far, and is now a match win away from securing Gold. Having received a bye in the first round, Ibrahim, who’s seeded second, defeated Ghana’s Yakubu-Lea Abubakari in the second round, before getting past Tody Rajaobelina of Madagascar in three sets to reach the semifinals.
Ibrahim would continue in his rich vein of form to dismiss Benin’s Gillian Nahum 6-2, 6-0 in the semis on Monday and book a spot in the final, where he will face either top seed, Finoana Rakotomala of Madagascar or third seed, Isaac Padio of Togo.
The other boys, however, couldn’t quite find their level to go past the second round in their respective matches.
Gabriel Inyang, after beating Augustin Ayivi in the opening round, went out to Gallian Nahum in three sets in the second round. Similarly, John Oche defeated Ghana’s Raphael Ankrah in the first round, but got edged by Peterne Kaouadio of Ivory Coast in the second.
Ganiyu Mubarak fell in the first round to Lameck Bagerbaseh of Ghana.
In the girls’ category, Mary Udoffa made an impressive run to the quarterfinals, beating Grace Tchamoussa of Togo in the opener, before handing third-seeded Kenyan, Shakira Varese a double bagel in the second round. Udoffa would square off against Benin’s Rodia Noudogbessi in the quarterfinals, with both youngsters trading bagels in the first and second sets. The Nigerian, however, failed to contain Noudogbessi in a super tiebreaker, losing 0-6, 6-0, 5-10.
Oiza Yakubu, also, made it to the quarterfinals, but lost to Togo’s Valentine Talaki 7-5, 3-6, 8-10. Iye Onoja made it past the first round, beating Hafiza Napo of Togo, but went down in three sets to the top seed, Gloriana Nahum, in the second round. Esther Oni, meanwhile, got a bye in the first round, before losing her second round encounter to Ishane Dermane of Togo.
In the doubles event, where play began in the second round, the Nigerian duo of Gabriel Inyang and John Oche lost to the pair of Finoana Rakotomala and Tody Rajaobelina both from Madagascar. Suleiman Ibrahim and Ganiyu Mubarak also bowed out in the quarterfinals.
In the girls’ category, Oiza Yakubu and Iye Onoja joined forces to reach the semifinals, where they got narrowly edged by the duo of Gloriana Nahum of Benin and Kenya’s Shakira Varese 3-6, 6-2, 10-7.
The second leg of the tournament will serve off on 2 – 5 April.