Sport  |  Football  

Nigeria places fifth, maintains Group III status

By By Olalekan Okusan   |   10 May 2010   |   6:36 pm  
DESPITE finishing fifth among the 14 nations that took part in the championship in Morocco, Nigeria could not gain promotion to Europe/Africa Zone Group II of the Davis Cup tournament.

After serving off its campaign on a good note with a 3-0 whitewash of Rwanda, the Sunday Emmanuel-inspired side fell 1-2 to Algeria to miss its promotion quest. Aside missing the promotion, the Nigerian side accounted for one of the upsets recorded at the championship, being the first time the team would lose to Algeria in any championship.

At the end of the tourney, Morocco, alongside its neighbour, Tunisia, were promoted to Europe/Africa Zone Group II of the Davis Cup tournament in 2011. With this development, the two nations will be campaigning in the group in 2011, while Nigeria will repeat the attempt at promotion.

Nigeria defeated Benin 2-1 in the play-off to place fifth behind Madagascar and Algeria, which came third and fourth respectively. In the first match, Nigeria showed class against Rwanda but could not break the fighting power of the Algerians after Abdulmumini Babalola had put the team ahead in the first match, which ended 3-6, 7-6, 6-2.

What ought to be a final wrap up for Nigeria was bundled by Emmanuel, who put every hand wrong to lose 6-2, 6-4 to the North Africans. The final doubles game, which served as the decider, had every element expected, with the Nigerians taking the first set at 6-3.

But the Algerians came back to level up in the second set that ended 7-5 in favour of the North Africans. The final set was tension-soaked, with both sides playing safe and it lasted for hours before the Algerians put the game to rest to emerge winners at 7-5.

The nations that featured in the championship were Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Cameroun, Congo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.



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