Nigeria’s boys team at the ongoing ITF West/Central African Junior Championships (AJC) Finals qualifiers for U12 in Cotonou missed out on a place in the final of the boys’ category and after a narrow 1-2 loss to their Ghanaian counterparts in a closely fought semifinal encounter on Saturday.
The loss means the team also missed out on qualifying for the AJC Finals which comes up in Morocco later in the year.
Seun Ogunshakin dropped his first set at the tournament but still rallied to defeat his Ghanaian opponent in three sets 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 and put Nigeria 1-0 up in the best-of-three match series. The Ghanaians were soon level however after Precious Ikeuba lost the 2nd singles rubber in straight sets 4-6, 7-6.
Nigeria’s hopes of making the finals of the tournament were finally doused in the doubles despite the valiant efforts of Mohammed Idris and Seun Ogunshakin. The duo put up a spirited fight against their opponents but still went down in three very close sets 5-7, 7-6, 10-8.
The boys team will now tackle Mali in the third-place playoff today after the Malians lost 1-2 to hosts Benin Republic in the other semifinals. Ghana and the Benin Republic will contest the final at the Tennis Club de l’Amitié today with the winner booking a spot at the AJC Finals in Morocco.
In the girls’ category, Salamatu Haruna and Niniola Ajulo both won their singles ties in straight sets against their Gabonese opponents. Haruna triumphed 6-1, 6-0 while Ajulo inflicted a double bagel on her opponent. Ajulo paired with Imole Afolabi to inflict another bagel in the doubles.
The girls square off against Sierra Leone today in a classification game with the winners finishing in fifth place.