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ITF/CAT 12 & under: Mixed fortunes for Nigeria as Togo shine

*Daniel Adeleye disqualified, throws Nigeria’s plans open to the wind

It was a case of win some and lose some for Nigeria on Tuesday as the 1st ITF/CAT 14 & under West and Central Africa Teams’ championship got underway in Lagos.

Having built a reputation of superpower of the CAT Zone 2 over the years, the hosts headed into the tournament as top favourites but were stunned by Ghana who won its two singles pairing in the boys’ category as Amos Appau bagged a 6-4, 6-2 win over Fortune Joseph, a last-minute replacement for Daniel Adeleye, who was declared ineligible after the screening by ITF Development Officer, Amine Ben Machlouf from Morocco.

Adeleye from Ekiti is Nigeria’s number one player registered for the tournament and his expulsion affected the psyche of the his team mate. This reflected in the performance of David Ekpeyong as he stumbled to a 6-4,7-6 defeat to Lameck Bukari, leaving the boys’ team with a mountain to climb following the change in format to round- robin owing to the low number of participating nations.

Iye Onoja and Oiza Yakubu restored Nigeria’s pride with the 6-4, 6-3 and 6-4, 6-0 wins over Lawrencia Manu and Shika Mckorley in the girls’ singles while Serena Teluwo paired Yakubu to beat Manu and Mckorley 6-1, 2-6, 12-10 in the doubles.

In the boys’ doubles, Gabriel Inyang and Fortune fell 6-4, 6-1 to Appau and Bukari to highlight a disappointing day for Nigeria.

Togo also started their campaign on an impressive note with wins over Benin in the singles and doubles boys’ category.

Prior to now, Nigeria lost two key female players to injury. Both athletes had to put on the Plaster of Paris (POP). With these developments, the hopes of the west African nation seems to have withered out in the boys category leaving her to place her focus on the girls who have the capacity to do well, if other things are equal.

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