ITF/CAT West & Central Africa Junior Championship Girls’ 16&u singles champion Adetayo Adetunji and Angel McLeod will both headline Nigeria’s challenge at the 2016 ITF/CAT U18 Championship billed for Tunis, Tunisia from February 7 to 13.
Nigeria junior tennis head coach, Mohammed Ubale disclosed that the pair, who helped Nigeria retain the West & Central AJC qualifiers in Abuja in January, will be joined by Andiyo Inwang, a 16-year-old born of Nigerian and German parents.
This will be the second successive year that Nigeria will be heading to the championship, with a debuting player of dual nationality as Russian-born Melissa Ifidzhen made her start as a Nigerian at the 2015 edition which was also held in the Mediterranean country.
Ifidzhen had an average outing as she made an early exit in the singles but made up for it with a semi-final finish in the doubles where she paired with Elizabeth Garos-Pam, another player that made her Nigerian debut in 2014 to reach the semi-finals in the doubles.
Both Garos-Pam and Ifidzhen thereafter made stunning entrance into the Nigerian domestic tennis stage. While London-based Garos-Pam reached the singles final of the Central Bank Open –the biggest domestic championship in the calendar of the Nigeria Tennis Federation –Ifidzhen, a Muscovite, went a step higher by clinching the Women’s individual top prize as well as the doubles and mixed-doubles.
Ubale, who has been supervising McLeod’s training in Kaduna in the past two weeks, lamented the inability of Nigeria to register at least five more players for the championship, which is expected to feature about 90 players from over 30 countries, due to shortage of funds.
Nigeria’s best outing in recent years was achieved by Candy Idoko, who reached the doubles final and ended up as a quarter-finalist in the singles.