The competition just got keener and the prize money even bigger as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced a total prize money of N17 million with a star prize of N7 million for the team that wins the 2016 NCC Tennis Championship.
The championship now in its second year has revived the sagging passion for tennis among Nigerians. Unveiling details of this year’s event at the prestigious Ikoyi Club, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the Commission was happy with the profile, organisation and impact of the event which has achieved all the objectives it was designed to achieve.
“The Tennis League is introducing 45 weeks of tennis to the Nigerian tennis calendar up from 32 last year and it is taking topflight tennis to more cities across the country.
“The number of participating teams has also risen from eight to ten this year.” Prof. Umar Danbatta, who was represented by the Director of Special Duties, Mrs Iyabo Sholanke, said.
Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung, who took a tour of the Ikoyi Club before the opening ceremony, commended the club for the outstanding facility and their maintenance level and implored the management to play a bigger role in the development of sports in the country.
The Minister lauded the NCC for sponsoring such a major historic tennis event which has the potential of producing top professional tennis players in the near future.
“What I have seen here today has convinced me that the private sector has to lead the sports development process in Nigeria,” Dalung said.
The Minister later participated in the ballot for the placement of the teams into the Blue and White round robin groups.
The Blue Group comprises;
- Team Tombim – Abuja
- Team Offikwu – Kaduna
- Team LeadWay – Lagos
- Team Anambra – Onitsha
- Team Goshen – Ilorin
The White Group comprises;
- Civil Defence – Kaduna
- Team FCT – Abuja
- Team Kalotari – Port Harcourt
- Team Hope – Asaba/Warri
- Team CBN Futures – Lagos
NCC Tennis League was launched in April last year with Team Tombim of Abuja clinching the highest honour of the maiden edition in a keenly contested final against Civil Defence. Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) President, Sanni Ndanusa at that time described it as “game changer for Nigerian tennis.”
“The tennis league is the first of its kind in Africa and it is now the flagship of Nigerian tennis. We shall do all in our power to support the league and ensure that the NCC continues to get value for the sponsorship”, Ndanusa who was flanked by several members of the NTF said.
The NCC Tennis League is managed by the International Tennis Academy.
The NCC said the essence of the Tennis League was to promote youth development through sports as well as foster national integration and unity.