The 2016 edition of the Nigerian Communications Commission-sponsored Annual Tennis League ended weekend with the finals between Kaduna-based Team Offikwu and Team Tombim with a 4-2 game in favour of the former.
In the final, which was played at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Lagos, organized by the International Tennis Academy, Sylvester Emmanuel, who spearheaded the Offikwu team that won the cup, trashed Moses Michael, who was national champion, in a 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 game.
The wining Offikwu team smiled home with a mouth-watering money gift of N7million.
Earlier in the competition, Albert Bicom had beaten Emmanuel Paul 6-4, 6-4.
In his remark at the event, which is the fourth in the series, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-chairman, NCC, said the Commission is not ‘all work and no play’, and that explains why a fair share of its Corporate Social Responsibility activities is in the area of sports and recreation because the commission’s philosophy believes in maintenance of work-life balance.
Danbata, who was represented by Mr. Jerry Ugwu, a Deputy Director at the Commission Secretariat, said NCC has adopted Tennis as a sport that is dear to its heart, which explains the commission’s now long and robust relationship with Ikoyi Club 1938 Tennis Section; and its sponsorship of a national tennis tournement christened ‘NCC League’, in Lagos.
He said, “The Commission boasts of keen tennis players and enthusiasts, which explains why it encourages its staff to take to the sport. This sponsorship also serves to expose some of them who are not in it to get interested. We appeal to members of the Press to use the NCC experience to propagate the message that exercise is key to life and work success.”
The EVC also formally congratulated the winners and encouraged those who did not win at the tournament.
“To win is good and you can see the delight on the faces of the winners but our objective is to make us all winners by encouraging participation and promoting the recreational value that it provides”, he added.
Also present to grace the occasion were Mr. Solomon Dalung, Minister of Youth and Sports; Dr. Alex Ekwueme, former Vice President of Nigeria; Mr. Sunny Onegbu, Vice Chairman, Tennis Section of Ikoyi Club, among others.
Dalung, who commended NCC for its committed involvement in the growth and development of sports in the country, noted that the Federal Government will continue to invest in sport at maximum capacity.
The minister also admonished youths in the country to take advantage of sports in Nigeria and use it to convert poverty into fortunes.
“Part of the Federal Government’s vision through this ministry is to empower the youths in the country through sport projects”, Dalung added.
In his own remark, Dr. Ekwueme, who was present at the finals of the league, expressed delight at the level of play and organization.
“It was a very exciting event and I thoroughly enjoyed the matches. If this competition is sustained Nigeria should be able to produce world beaters in the very near future,” the former Vice president noted.
Apart from Team Offikwu’s offer of N7 million, the runners-up, Team Tombim got N5 million; Team Civil Defence, winners of the third place concluded last Friday went home with N4 million, while the fourth place team, Team FCT got N2 million.