ALL AFRICA SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP - DAY 4: Nigeria dethrone Mauritius to emerge 2019 CBA Mixed-double champions
It was all glamour as the hosts of the 2019 All Africa Senior Badminton Championships gave a good account of themselves in what can be described as a keenly contested game in the mixed team final event that saw Anuoluwapo Opeyori and Dorcas Adesokan narrowly defeat the stubborn duo of Julien Paul and Kate Foo Kune from Mauritius 21-19, 21-19,
The match lived up to its billing as both teams put up an entertaining performance as well as showing the stuff they are made off.
Reacting to the victory, Team Nigeria head Coach Benjamin Orakpo said that "We are ready to make Africa proud, adding that player's were carefully selected and presented to the Badminton Federation of Nigeria"
Elsewhere, the opponent Chief coach expressed dissatisfaction, "It was a vey good and competitive match but i'm not satisfied with the officiating.
He added, the player's are good but they're so bias, because every host country do this, likewise if my country host will have to win"
The host team made sure they held strong to emerge champions of the Team finals events with a 2-3 sweet victory over a resilient Mauritius.
In addition, the two teams tied at 2-2 on major scores in the final team game - the Mixed Doubles sent the Alfred Diette Spiff Civic Centre in raptures as the host country recorded an intensive (19-21, 19-21) to triumph to edge Mauritius.
Nigeria's Anuoluwapo Opeyori paired alongside Dorcas Adesokan in what was an extremely close two sets against Mauritius' pair of Julien Paul and Kate Foo Kune.
Team Nigeria started strong with a statement performance in the men's singles when the country's number one, Anuolwapo Opeyori showed immense superiority with his (11-21, 16-21) straight set win over Mauritius' Aatish Lubah.
Africa and Mauritius number one, Kate Foo Kune brought the game back on parity after a smart 21-12, 21-16 display against Deborah Ukeh.
The game was decided at (1-1) before the men's doubles of Aatish Lubah/Julien Paul saw off Clement Krobakpo/Enejo Abah in another straight set victory to give Mauritius a (2-1) lead.
Meanwhile, Deborah Ukeh/Dorcas Adesokan brought Team Nigeria back on a (2-2) parity when they defeated Aurelie Allet/ Lorna Bodha 8-21, 10-21 in the women's doubles before a hyper ending to a thrilling decider in the mixed doubles which saw Nigeria edge one of the favorites at the All Africa Senior Championships 2019.
Conclusively, the memorable evening was colorful with huge home support from the crowd and Kwara, Enugu, Rivers, Ogun, Fct and BFN Pioneers all in attendance alongside raffle draws that was anchor by notable MC.
Incredibly, the much anticipated Africa Senior Championship has eventually started in the 'Garden City' aka Port-Harcourt, Rivers State; Nigeria.
Fascinating outing for host team Nigeria including Egypt, Mauritius, Algeria, Ghana who all begins with winning waves at the Alfred Diete-Spiff Sports Complex in Moscow road, Port-harcourt that was filled with spectators from all works of life.
Nigeria athletes shown commitment after beating South-Africa (5-0) in the team mixed Double's games as they look forward to win more in the championship.
Likewise, Africa's number 1 ranking Mauritius maintain their winning streak as they white-wash Benin-republic in in a (5-0) humiliating encounter to show their superiority and readiness in retain their title.
Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South-Africa are in group D while defending champion Mauritius are the same group B with Zambia, Benin republic but Algeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo fall in group C; and Egypt, Uganda, DRC Congo are in group A.
The participating countries in this year’s championship are: Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Congo, Congo DRC, Eritrea, Egypt Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the hosts, Nigeria.
Nonetheless, Nigeria has presented 18 players in both the male and female categories, including the country’s male’s number one player, Anuoluwapo Opeyori, will represent Team Nigeria.
More also, others are Godwin Olofua, Eneojo Abah, Clement Krobakpo, Habeeb Bello, Aliyu Shehu, Gideon Babalola, Kayode Mope and Isaac Minaphee.
While in the female category favorite athlete Dorcas Adesokan including Deborah Ukeh, Peace Orji, Chinenye Ibere, Amin Christopher, Sofiat 0banisola, Ramatu Yakubu, Zainab Alabi and Augustina Sunday will also compete.
According to Coach Benjamin Orakpo while briefing the Media yesterday said, "Our player's are fully ready for the championships, of course, they are aware of the importance of the tournament.
“We are so very prepared. We have trained together over the last few weeks and we are ready to do exploits as host Nation.
"It's Olympic-point scoring event and the Badminton Federation of Nigeria is ready to allow he players to the Tokyo Olympics next year.
“Opeyori and Olofua are second and third respectively in Africa, while they are number one in the doubles event. We hope they can collectively gather enough points to make it to Tokyo.
"Although, it's a huge task but i believe our players have what it takes to excel in Tokyo; explaining that there six new mats already laid for the championship.
Rivers State Commissioner of Sports, Boma Iyaye has reiterated Governor Nyesom Wike’s commitment to ensure the event is a huge success.
BFN reputable and erudite leader (Barr.) Francis Orbirh has expressed optimism in the team as well as the entire CBA event which is billed to achieve historical fit.
Among dignitaries that graced the opening ceremon are: Mrs. Ipalibo Bangnigo (Rivers State Deputy Governor), Mr. Tukebana Bau (President Badminton Confederation of Africa), Hon. Boma Iyaye (Rivers State Commissioner of Sports), Mozez Praiz (BCA Ambassador) including BFN board members.
Adding spice to the cake was a music performance, entertaining mascot, cultural display, team match pass, drumming from police band and comedy.
Finally, BFN current board under the auspice of Barr. Francis Orbirh has revived the game in different way even bringing famous (BFA Ambassador) Mozez Praiz on a special appearance.
Actions continue tomorrow...stay tuned!