Four new entrants, Team SBL, Team Luik Vipers, Team Leadway Assurance and Team Orofina will join the eight existing teams in the search for laurels when this year’s Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Tennis League serves off in eight centres across the country. The competition will start towards the end of the month.
In the draws over the weekend at the Tennis Complex of Abuja National Stadium Package B, the 12 registered teams were grouped into White and Blue colours with six teams in each group. But the defending champion, the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps (NSDC), will not be part of the action as it has been disbanded.
The White Group comprises Team Tech Vibe, Team Goshen, Team Kalotari, Team CBN, Team Orofina and Team Anambra, while Group Blue include Team Leadway Assurance, Team Offikwu, Team Luik, Team Yetade, Team Next Generation and Team SBL.
NCC Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Garba Danbata, who was represented by the Director, Planning and Research, Mrs. Iyabode Solanke, said the 24-week tournament is open to all, including the very best male and female players in the country.
Prof. Danbata was elated that the tournament has featured the crop of rising players in the country, adding, “It is an opportunity for all players to ply their trade in the quest to be the best throughout the duration of the tournament.
“Our choice to continue to sponsor this tournament is guided principally by our commitment to be a good corporate citizen and to invest in the development and sharpening of skill of our countrymen.
“To provide a level playing field for players to develop their skills to the point of making a living with this sport and also doing the nation proud.
NCC Tennis Cup increases competition among the players, which is an advantage when it comes to preparation for other competitions within and outside Nigeria.”
Also speaking during the draw, tournament organiser, Godwin Kienka said the new Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rule of deciding the final set of 10-point tiebreaker would apply in the competition.
Kienka noted, “The players will have to travel to different cities playing week after week. This will enhance their performance in the Governor’s Cup, and in the series of tournaments they are going to have in the first quarter of next year.”
Kienka, who is the Director of International Tennis Academy (ITA), said the venues designated to host matches of the tournament are in good shape, adding, “One of the good things in this year’s tournament is the direct involvement of some of the state governors, who in their personal capacities, are supporting teams’ participation.
“Some of the governors are using the NCC Tennis Tournament platform to raise players. Corporate organisations are also beginning to identify with the tournament, a development that will raise the standard of the courts.”