NTTF names Aruna and others for 2021 African Championships –
The Nigerian Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) has named a 12-man squad for the 2021 Senior Africa Championships to be held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, September 1-7.
The tournament, according to the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), serves as a qualifier for the 2021 ITTF World Championship scheduled for November in Houston, United States.
Cadet National Champion Samuel Boboye is a surprise inclusion in the men’s squad which includes Quadri Aruna, Olajide Omotayo, Bode Abiodun, Azeez Solanke and Taiwo Matti.
The women’s squad also includes National Under-21 Champion Bukola Ajayi, as well as Olympians Offiong Edem, Olufunke Oshonaike and National Champion Fatimo Bello.
For the first time in her career, Lagos State champion Bose Odusanya will join the national team while ex-Cécilia Otu-Akpan returns to the squad after her last national team appearance at the African Games 2019 in Rabat, Morocco.
According to NTTF goalkeeper committee chairman Ishaku Tikon, the inclusion of young players in the squad has become necessary following the possible exit of some older players from the squads in no time. “We want these young players to play alongside some of the established stars so that they can also gain experience playing with the stars. It is clear that some of our players will be leaving the scene soon and it is imperative for us to start building a new squad of young players. We recognize that early exposure of these players will help build their confidence and give them an edge at international events, ”said Tikon.
Already more than 20 African countries have been confirmed for the seven-day tournament with the best players and teams from the tournament qualifying for this year’s World Championships in the United States.
Director of the tournament and President of the Cameroon Table Tennis Association, Alfred Bagueka Assobo is convinced that the country and the association are ready to host the event. “Cameroon had the opportunity to organize the African Women’s Handball Championships in June, this year on the same site that hosts the tournament. It was a very good experience in terms of managing the Covid-19 pandemic. We learned from this experience because a medical team of experienced doctors will be on site throughout the competition, ”he said.