Nigeria’s chances of retaining its overall winners’ title at the 2016 ITF/CAT West and Central Africa Championships in Lome, Togo suffered a massive blow following an injury to Marylove Edwards, one of the country's star players at the 11-nation tournament.
The 12-year-old Edward sustained an injury to her left wrist towards the end of her enthralling 6-4, 6-4 semifinal win over Lorie Lemongo of Cameroun Monday evening and could not recover in time to face her compatriot, Oyinlomo Quadri in the final of the girls’ 14 and under category.
MaryLove Edwards will play no further part in the tournament.
“Marylove injured her left wrist during the match against a Camerounian in the semifinal on Monday but she managed to play with it and won but she cannot play again because she is still feeling the pains. It’s a very unfortunate incident because she’s one of the players that we are counting on for medals; she has been doing very well in this tournament,” Mohammed Ubale, Nigeria’s head coach lamented.
The two Nigerians have been playing great tennis and tennis faithful who had come to witness what was expected to be an entertaining match at Stade Omnisports were left disappointed.
Coach Ubale holds out MaryLove's hand after the injury.
The injury led to Marylove forfeiting the doubles’ tie where she was to pair Quadri against their Ghanaian opponents while she also forfeited the singles final which would have seen her have the chance to avenge the defeat to her Morocco-based compatriot at the same stage last year in Abuja.
Team Nigeria fell short of target in the singles with most of its representatives succumbing in the semifinal and had hoped to revive their chances of topping the 11-nation tournament in the doubles as well as the team event but the loss of the double-forehand double-backhand player has reduced the chances of Nigeria bagging another regional title.
The youngster fills a form after the confirmation of her injury.
Alongside Quadri, Michael Osewa, Michael Ayoola and Matthew Abamu, Marylove had qualified for the African Junior Championships billed for March in Pretoria by finishing among the top-five in their singles categories.
Nigeria has emerged overall winners at the annual tournament for the last five years.