By Lekan Olaseinde Abuja
Team Nigeria made a flying start in their quest or the defense of the ITF/CAT West and Central Africa Junior Championship qualifiers in Lome, Togo with no fewer than eight of its 12 players advancing to the next stage of the event.
While Oyinlomo Quadri, who is Nigeria’s highest ranked junior player, got a bye to the quarterf nal in the girls’ 16 and under, the trio of Marylove Edward, Gabriel Friday and Matthew Abamu won their second round matches to also move to the last-eight of the tournament featuring 12 countries.
US-returnee, Edward outplayed Beragah Atana of Cameroun 6-3, 6-1 and is just three wins away from clinching the girls’ 14 and under crown while in the boys’ 16 and under, Friday had a tough encounter with Vince N’tcha of Benin in a match that lasted about an hour and half with scores ending 7-5, 1-6, 6-1 to the Nigerian.
On his part, Abamu, whose consistency in the past few years has earned him regular invitations by Nigeria, was on top of his game as he sealed a comfortable 6-1, 6-2 win over Chenne Traore of Mali to also keep the dream of landing the top prize in the boys’ 16 and under category.
Oiza Yakubu and Rebecca Ekpeyong are also through to the third round in the girls’ 16 and under same for Sulaiman Ibrahim an Usman Kushimo who are slugging it out in the boys’ 14 and under as they all bagged impressive wins on Tuesday.
Nigeria has been dominating the tournament with an enviable record of overall winners in the last six editions of the annual regional championship.
The African Junior Championship is billed for later this year with the 14 and under holding in South Africa while that of the 16 and under is scheduled to take place in Tunisiaz