Barely 24 hours after Nigeria took over the political affairs of scrabble in Africa, the country has again re-asserted its dominance at the sporting level again as Enoch Nwali won the 14th edition of the African Scrabble Championship (ASC) which was concluded on Monday in Lusaka, Zambia.
Earlier, Adekoyejo Adegbesan was elected as the President of the Pan Africa Scrabble Association (PANASA) after he defeated the incumbent Muhamed Kamara.
Nwali who is winning the title for the first time defeated his closest rival and compatriot Wellington Jighere in a tightly contested round 31.
Wellington, a dogged master of the game trailed the young gun from day two closely expecting some slip-up from the frontrunner.
But round 31 became a threshold for both players as Jighere who won the African title back-to-back in 2008 and 2010 knew a defeat would be fatal to his ambition to make it three and the first to do so.
He would garner some pretty points in the early stage of the game as his younger compatriot tried to catch up.
A quickfire of premiums in three successions with the word ‘TOUSIER’, ‘YEARDING’ and ‘EANLINGS’ propelled Nwali above Jighere as both players hunt for more points in the intriguing encounter.
In the end, Nwali would win the tie by a point as the final score stood at 514-513 after Jighere did some reconciliation for a possible scoring error which could drag the game further.
After the result was confirmed, the score would push Nwali’s overall result to 25½ wins and 6½ losses with a monstrous 2,023 cumulative points and stamped his new status as the 11th Nigerian to have his name etched in history as a winner at the championship.
In May, both players faced each other back in Nigeria at the “Sophomore” Emmanuel Egbele Annual Scrabble Tournament (EEAST) where the “Drummer Boy” triumph over the ” World Champ” in the final stage to win the tournament.
On the overall ranking, Jighere finished second with 22 wins and 10 losses while another Nigerian Prince Omosefe came third with the same score but with lesser cumulative points.
Oyende Allan of Kenya placed third while Eta Karo finished fifth.
Tuoyo Mayuku won the Female category.
His win in the Southern African country has now extended Nigeria’s dominance on the African scene to 13 wins from the 14 editions held so far since 1994.
10 countries featured at this edition while the 15th edition will be hosted by Sierra Leone in 2024.
Year Player Host
1994 Iffy Onyeonwu Kenya
1996 Femi Awowade Nigeria
1998 Wale Fashina South Africa
2000 Moshood Sanni Ghana
2002 Trevor Hovelmeier Kenya
2004 Dennis Ikekeregor Tanzania
2006 Dennis Ikekeregor Nigeria
2008 Jighere Wellington Kenya
2010 Jighere Wellington Ghana
2012 Rex Ogbakpa Zambia
2014 Etim Nsikak South Africa
2016 Ayorinde Saidu Ghana
2018 Moses Peter Kenya