Thursday, February 15, 2018
TEXT BY DEV SUKUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
Nigeria gave themselves a shot at a double when they made both finals at the All Africa Men’s & Women’s Team Championships 2018.
Both the women’s team semi-finals were exciting affairs. Nigeria faced a tough challenge from Egypt in the women’s team event. Dorcas Ajoke Adesokan gave Nigeria the lead in the opening singles, but Doha Hany made it 1-1 for Egypt beating Zainab Momoh.
Nigeria once again gained the lead through Uchechukwu Deborah Ukeh who beat Salmeen Essam Eisaid Salem 21-12 21-8. Doha Hany returned with Hadia Hosny for the first doubles, and the pair outplayed Adesokan/Ukeh 21-19 18-21 21-16 to take the tie to the fifth match.
Zainab Momoh and Peace Orji swung the tie Nigeria’s way, outclassing Salmeen Essam Elsaid Salem and Hana Tarek Mohamed 21-9 21-16.
In the other semi-final, Mauritius also edged past Algeria 3-2, with Nicki Chan-Lam and Kate Foo Kune (featured image) winning the critical fifth match over Dounia Naama/Malak Ouchefoun 21-13 21-6.
In the men’s team semi-finals, Nigeria overwhelmed Ghana 3-1. Clement Krobakpo gave Nigeria the lead beating Emmanuel Yaw Donkor 21-10 21-17. Ghana fought back through Abraham Ayittey, who beat Habeeb Temitope Bello 21-19 21-15.
However, Nigeria’s second singles (Anuoluwapo Juwon Opeyori) and doubles (Enejoh Abah/Clement Krobakpo) saw Nigeria through with straight games victories.
Nigeria face hosts Algeria in the men’s team final. Algeria suffered a setback in their semi-finals against Mauritius, with Mohamed Abederrahime Belari doing down to Georges Julien Paul in an hour-long thriller at 24-22 21-14 21-15.
Youcef Sabri Medel pulled Nigeria back into the contest beating Aatish Lubah before Koceila Mammeri consolidated for Nigeria in the third singles. Belarbi and Medel then combined to beat Lubah and Paul 21-18 21-15 to see Algeria through.