Nigeria has not won in the mixed team event of any tournament the country has hosted in the past but will aim to break that jinx on Thursday in a clash with Mauritius in the final of the All Africa Senior Badminton Championships in Port Harcourt.
The Nigerian side also has an extra impetus to go for the gold after their controversial loss to Algeria in the final of the African Championships last year.
The Team Nigeria prides itself as the only side yet to drop a single set enroute final and will want to justify the rating with a victory.
Nigeria had dispatched South Africa and Zimbabwe in the group stage before trouncing Uganda in the quarterfinals Wednesday morning.
Top stars Anuoluwapo Opeyori and Dorcas Adesokan were in imperious form as they inspired the team past Ghana in the semifinals.
Enejo Abbah and Peace Orji set the tone with a tough 22-16, 21-12 win in the mixed doubles; although the result looked like it was an easy encounter, Abbah admitted the Ghana’s male player Daniel Sam made it difficult for them.
“I had to prepare mentally for him because he accounted for the exit of the defending champions Algeria,” he said.
It was another challenge for Opeyori as he had to work hard to seal a 21-9, 21-11 win over Andrews Ebenezer in the men’s singles before Adesokan overcame Grace Atipaka 21-9, 21-14 in the women’s singles.
Mauritius have had tougher route to the final; their semifinals opponents Egypt looked most formidable but they still overcame the North Africans 3-0 to set up the final.
They have the African number one in both men and women’s singles but Adesokan is not afraid.
“They have strong players but we are better in many areas; what we have to do is to plan very well for them I am sure we are going for the gold. It means so much to us and we will get it,” she said.