Nigerian On Course For Gold At ITF African Junior Circuit Event

Nigeria’s Suleiman Ibrahim will clinch gold at the ITF/CAT African Junior Circuit (AJC) Under-14 event in Lome, Togo if he beats either of top seed, Finoana Rakotomala of Madagascar or third seed, Isaac Padio of Togo in the Boys’ category.

Ibrahim who had earlier won Gold at the U-14 AJC regional qualifiers in January has been in steaming hot form so far. After receiving a bye in the first round, second seeded Ibrahim went on to eliminate Ghana’s Yakubu-Lea Abubakari in the second round, before getting past Tody Rajaobelina of Madagascar in three sets to reach the semifinals.

Benin’s Gillian Nahum was yet another victim of Ibrahim’s cruising form as the Nigerian saw off his Benin Republic counterpart 6-2, 6 – 0 to book a spot in the final.

So far, Ibrahim has been the only shine for Nigeria in the Boys’ category as others have failed to progress beyond the second round of the competition.

John Oche defeated Ghana’s Raphael Ankrah in the first round, but got edged by Peterne Kaouadio of Ivory Coast in the second. Similarly, Gabriel Inyang was eliminated by Gallian Nahum in three sets in the second round after beating Augustin Ayivi in the opening round. Ganiyu Mubarak fell out in the first round to Ghana’s Lameck Bagerbaseh.

In the Boys’ doubles event, the duo of Gabriel Inyang and John Oche lost to the pair of Finoana Rakotomala and Tody Rajaobelina both from Madagascar in the second round where play started while Suleiman Ibrahim and Ganiyu Mubarak bowed out in the quarterfinals.

The Girls’ single event saw Mary Udoffa make an impressive run to the quarterfinals only to be eliminated by Benin’s Rodia Noudogbessi 0-6, 6-0, 5-10 in a super tiebreaker.

Oiza Yakubu equally made it to the quarterfinals, but lost to Togo’s Valentine Talaki 7-5, 3-6, 8-10. Iye Onoja after beating Hafiza Napo of Togo in the first round couldn’t survive the heat in the second as she went down in three sets to top seed, Gloriana Nahum.

While the partnership of Oiza Yakubu and Iye Onoja in the doubles event got them a semifinal berth, Benin’s Gloriana Nahum and Kenya’s Shakira Varese narrowly saw off both Nigerians 3-6, 6-2, 10-7.

The second leg of the tournament will serve off from April 2 and will end April 5.