Team Nigeria advanced to the final in the Girls’ 16 & Under category with a 2-1 victory over Cameroon in Lome.
Marylove Edwards, who has been sublime all through the AJC qualifiers, put Nigeria in front in the 1st singles after she rallied from a set down to beat Stadfany Nformi 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. In the 2nd singles, Rebecca Ekpeyong was rock solid against Patricia Wamba, securing a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
The Nigerians, however, fell short in the doubles as Mary Udofa and Ekpeyong went down to Nformi and Reine Akombo 4-6, 2-6.
Up next for Nigeria in the final is host nation, Togo, a team led by Vania Dotse, Kekeli Adjiwanou and Chakira Dermane.
The boys team also progressed to the final in the 16 & Under category with a 3-0 victory over Ghana.
Matthew Abamu opened the floodgates with a straightforward 6-4, 6-3 win over Richard Okine, before Usman Kushimo steamrolled Adzokatse Kenneth 6-1, 6-1. Kushimo then paired up with Mukhtar Andu to beat Okine and Ishmael Dowuona 6-0, 6-2.
They will play Cameroon for the title.
Elsewhere, Nigeria lost to Ghana 2-1 in the Girls’ 14 & Under category, and will now rely on Togo to beat Benin Republic so as to secure top spot in the group. It is still uncertain if a runner-up in the group will secure qualification for the African Junior Championship U14 in South Africa.
Oiza Yakubu made up for Iye Onoja’s 1st singles loss to Glorianne Nahum, with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Rodia Noudogbessi in the 2nd singles. But the girls were pegged back in the doubles as Onoja and Serena Teluwo lost 1-6, 4-6 to Nahum and Noudogbessi.
Meanwhile, Ghana killed off any hopes the Nigerian team had of securing qualification to the AJC in South Africa for the Boys’ 14 & Under with a 3-0 victory.
Suleiman Ibrahim lost to Abubakari Yakubu-Lea 3-6, 6-0, 4-6, while Joshua Maxwell was beaten 6-3, 6-2 by Lameck Bagerdaseh. The team also lost the doubles 4-6, 3-6 to the Ghanaians.
The coach, Abel Ubiebi, blamed the string of poor performances in the boys 14 & Under category on fatigue and intense pressure. In a post match interview, he said, “fatigue was the major problem for the boys, the pressure was very intense here.”
When asked if the day’s results affect the chances of Nigeria winning the team event championship trophy, the coach said, “Yes, the U16 Boys and Girls need to win to secure the trophy.”