Nigerian tennis star prospect, Marylove Edward alongside Usman Kushimo, will lead Nigeria’s quest for glory as the 2018 ITF/CAT 14 and Under Championship serves off Monday at the Tennis Centre, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
The US-based Edward maintained her phenomenal rise, which saw her reach the women’s singles final of the Central Bank of Nigeria Open last year, by clinching gold at the West and Central African Championship held in Lome, Togo in February while Kushima, from Ogun State, clinched a qualification spot on his debut outing for Nigeria at the same event.
Both will now face tougher oppositions at the week-long tournament featuring over 40 players from 14 African countries but Edward maintains she is up to the task.
“I’m looking forward to win again but I know it’s going to be tough,” she said just before the team, led by coach Margaret Olagundoye departed the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos aboard South African Airways on Saturday evening.
Edward recalled she had a forgetful tournament two years ago in South Africa when she crashed out at the African Junior Championship but said she is ready for the challenge this time.
“I have improved on my game since I moved to the US and I know if I play to my standard, I should be able to reach my target which is to win the girl’s title,” the 12-year-old currently is with the IMG Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida with sponsorship by the Temple Management Company.
Nigeria’s best outing at the tournament was in 2017 when Michael Osewa reached the final losing to Damien Laporte of the Seychelles.