Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has congratulated former Lagos State Commissioner for Sports and Ex-President, Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) Wahid Enitan Oshodi on his election as Deputy President of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF).
Governor Sanwo-Olu in a statement issued on Tuesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, to facilitate with Oshodi, said the elevation of the ex-President of NTTF to continental level is well deserved.
Oshodi was unanimously elected as the Deputy President of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) at the recent virtual General Assembly of the continental body.
Governor Sanwo-Olu in his message said Oshodi deserves the continental position, having contributed immensely to the growth and development of sports, especially the tennis federation at national and international levels.
Sanwo-Olu also congratulated Egypt’s Khaled El-Salhy on his re-election for a third term in office as the President of ATTF, as well as other new officers of the Federation.
He said: “On behalf of the Lagos State Government and millions of Lagosians, I felicitate with a worthy citizen of our dear State, Wahid Enitan Oshodi on his election as the Deputy President of the African Table Tennis Federation.
“The elevation of Oshodi to the position of Deputy President of ATTF is good news to us in Lagos. He really deserves the elevation, having distinguished himself in the sports industry, especially at the Tennis Federation with a high level of professionalism and integrity.
“We are proud of him and we believe that he will use his new position to lift the fortune of table tennis and raise the bar of the sport in Africa to compete with the rest of the world.
Chairman of International Table Tennis Federation Nomination Committee, Wahid Oshodi believes for African players to put up a good challenge against their Asian and European counterparts, there is a need for them to improve their game by competing in several international competitions.
Reacting to the continent’s players’ performance at the 2019 ITTF World Championships that took place in Budapest, Hungary, Oshodi said: “The performance of the African players has been quite fair. We were hoping for better results but they have had to contend with difficult draws and players recovering from injuries.
“The performances need to improve so we can challenge the top Asian and European players. But apart from this, I must commend Aruna Quadri who is still recovering from a hamstring injury but worked hard in getting to the round of 32 before going out in a closely contested match against the overwhelming favourite and World No 1 Fan Zhen Dong. It was a great performance.
“The young Nigerian former Junior Champion Ajoke Ojomu also showed great promise in her first world championship. She showed all the qualities needed to play at this level. Now she must add more hard work to her undoubted talent. The African female champion Dina Meshref also played well.”
The former President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) said for African players to medal in global tournaments, there must conscious efforts by coaches to acquaint themselves with modern techniques in the sports.
“We must get our players playing more regularly against the best players in the world. Our coaches need to learn the latest techniques. We need more exposure for them and for the players. We need to get our players on the World Tour Circuit. This means money and they need more sponsorship and funding.
“We have all witnessed the vast improvements made by Aruna Quadri, Olajide Omotayo and Omar Assar since they started playing regularly on the tour. You play against the best in the world and learn from them.
“The support Aruna Quadri has received from Baba Ijebu Bet has helped him in no small way to ensure he attends tournaments and pay for the extra coaching that is needed at this level. Others need to emulate this,” Oshodi concluded.
Nigeria’s Olabanji Oladapo has returned as Vice President Administration in the eight-man Executive Board of the Khaled El-Salhy (EGY)-led team of ITTF Africa.
Also, the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Oshodi, added another feather, as the lawyer has been elected as the Regional Vice President of Western Region at the Bi-Annual General Assembly (BGM) held in Agadir, Morocco.
Oshodi, who is also a Member of the Nominations Committee of ITTF, will be in charge of the Western region which include Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
He is expected to coordinate the activities in this region with the aim of developing table tennis.
Khaled El-Salhy, who became the president of the second largest continental body under the ITTF was elected unopposed while Henry Djombo (CGO), Deputy President; Olabanji Oladapo (NGR), Vice President Administration; Hajera Kajee (RSA), Vice President Marketing; Berte Abou Bakary (CIV), Vice President Finance; Monqid Hajji (MAR), Vice President Media and Public Relations and Balla Lo (SEN), Vice President Technical were all elected unopposed.
For the regional Vice Presidents, Abdennour Kaci (Algeria) takes charge of Northern Region, Wahid Oshodi (Nigeria) is in charge of Western Region, Alfred Bagueka (Cameroon) is for Central Region, Andrew Mudibo (Kenya) to administer Eastern Region and Joe Carrim (South Africa) will take control of Southern Region.
The council members are Kamel Zaitouni (Algeria), Mahmoud Oumar (Djibouti), Jalal Hariz (Libya), Philippe Hao Thyn Voon (Mauritius), Abdelrahman El-Sallawi (Sudan) and Thomas Kiggundo (Uganda).
However, two more co-opted members are expected to be added through the ITTF-Africa Executive Council maiden meeting.
In his acceptance speech, Khaled El-Salhy pledged to uplift the fortune of table tennis in the continent, while calling for more support from national associations.
“I am highly honoured to be considered for another term in office and I want to that the congress for their trust and support.
“We are so ambitious for the future hoping that we can focus on development and marketing of the sport so that we can continue to grow the sport in Africa,” he said.
Countries that staged major competitions were also honoured for their efforts.
Over 18 national associations graced the BGM while the congress also commended Morocco for their efforts to stage a befitting ITTF Africa Senior Championships.
For 2017, Tunisia will host the African Junior and Cadet Championships in April while Congo Brazzaville is considering hosting the ITTF African Cup and Club Championship in July.
The Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) has expressed satisfaction over the performance of the team that represented the country at the Rio Olympics.
The scintillating performance of Aruna Quadri, who made it to the quarterfinal of the men’s singles event after beating two of the world’s top players to become the first African to play in the last eight of the Olympic Games is a major achievement.
A proud President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Oshodi believes the outing in Brazil has confirmed that with more support, table tennis is capable of claiming a medal for Nigeria at the multi-sports competition
After becoming the best team outside Asia and Europe to have performed well at the Olympic Games, the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), Wahid Oshodi, reiterated how proud Team Nigeria has made the country.
Oshodi, whose administration has brought vibrancy and changed the fortune of table tennis in Nigeria, said despite the lack of support from those in charge of sports in Nigeria, the players raised their game to win the heart of many in Brazil.
“I am quite pleased with the players. They have shown commitment and have strive to give their best. Everybody won a match and got into the main draw of the tournament and at this level that is not an easy task. They have all come together and supported each other even when support seemed to be lacking.
“With Aruna Quadri’s excellent performance in reaching the quarterfinal and Segun Toriola getting to the 2nd round, I must confess that I am quite elated and proud of this team. They have done the country proud.
“This is by far the best performance by a table tennis team outside Asia and Europe ever and must be celebrated. If you also look at the quality of players that we defeated then one must take his hat off to the players. It is a phenomenal performance taking all the circumstances of our preparation into consideration”, he said.
On what the feat of Aruna Quadri would impact on the sport, the president said:
“This just goes to confirm what we know about our players. They have the talent and if you can combine that with hard work, commitment to your job, discipline and a lot of humility then you can get to the top of the world game.
“We have a lot of gifted players in Nigeria but what is lacking in many of them is the will power to put in the work. Segun Toriola, Aruna Quadri, Bode Abiodun, Edem Offiong and Funke Oshonaike continue to show the way and I hope many others will follow.
“As I have been trumpeting for a while now, we have probably the best crop of young junior players outside China and Japan and if we can harness their talents properly then I make bold to say that in the next five years we can challenge the Chinese for the number one spot. But in main our problems like lack of funding, lack of seriousness and the right kind of exposure for our coaches and players still continue to hamper us.”
Expressing his personal feeling on Aruna Quadri’s performance, the ITTF Nomination Member said: “As you know I have always taking an extra interest in Aruna’s career due to his hard work and commitment to improving himself both on and off the table. I am the proudest person in Rio. Everybody who has followed his career will feel rightly proud.
“The NTTF is really proud of Aruna and his team mates. This performance gives us another platform to engage with the private sector and I truly hope that with all the accolades and acclaim he is receiving from home and abroad the private sector in Nigeria will see fit to support him as Frot Group, Friends of Table Tennis and Premier Lotto have done. Aruna goes on to the World Cup in October and of course the African Senior championships later in the year and he needs to sustain this performance.
“Playing alongside the best players in the world requires a lot of funding for training, travel and equipment. We hope our own home grown companies, philanthropists and wealthy individuals will come forward now and help this talented player get to the top of the game. Aruna and Toriola are probably some of the most famous faces in World Sport today and it is sad that we keep going on about lack of funding. I really hope this will change for the better”.
On his future plans, he added: “There is need for more exposure for our other players and coaches while more funding, increased and better quality coaching. We need to have at least eight male and female players consistently playing on the senior and junior professional tours.
“This will serve as an inspiration for the young ones coming behind especially when they see that they can build a financially rewarding career as people like Toriola and Oshonaike have done. I have learnt in my career that the only true reward for hard work leading to success is more hard work. We need to even work harder especially in the female category so we can sustain our achievements.
“I am fully committed to helping our players get to the top and really hope we can get the right support from Government and the organized private sector such as the Banks, Telecoms and Oil companies and our big Industrialists: this category of organizations need to focus a lot more on helping our home grown sports stars develop instead of chasing after the big earning premiership football stars. What they spend on just one of these sponsorships could easily cater for all of international and local table tennis for a year. The people who decide what these companies expend on corporate sponsorships need to sit back and have a rethink. We really hope they will get behind our players and only when they do this will they be really doing some good in society.”, he added
The Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) has fixed March 21 as registration deadline for the maiden National U-16 league which will feature players across the country.
According to the Secretary General of the federation, Chinedu Ezeala-Ogundare, it becomes necessary to give the participants enough time to complete their registration for the championship.
“With the success recorded by the senior national team at the ITTF World Team Championship in Malaysia, we want to ensure that we groom players that will come through the rank and that is why the U-16 National League becomes necessary and we have decided to give the states the opportunity finish their registration for the competition. We will not allow late registration because we want to give the teams chance to be part of the tournament which will help us to unearth new talents,” she added.
President of NTTF, Wahid Oshodi, confirmed that more talented players would be given the opportunity to showcase their skills to the national coaches and supervisors.
“I think our focus in 2016 as in 2015 is that we must continue to develop the junior and cadet players. We must give our most talented young players the right atmosphere for them to grow. This of course means giving them the best coaching and affording them the opportunity to play in tournaments internationally so we can assess how well they are doing against the best young players in the world. We have done quite well in this regard in the last two years but there are a lot more gifted players all over the country and we must do our best to discover and harness them. We hope to be able to create new tournaments outside Lagos and Abuja. If we can find the right partnerships with the private sector this will assist greatly in boosting the spread of the game all over the country,” Oshodi concluded.
The objective of the league is to give new players the opportunity to play in national junior teams as well as work their way into the senior team.
The competition will serve off on March 29 to April 8 at the National Training Centre in National Stadium while the grand finale which is known as Super League will hold on May 14 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Each state across the country is expected to present two boys and two girls while the top eight players in the boys and girls event will qualify for the Super League.
According to the prospectus of the tournament, states wishing to participate will register with the NTTF, while only the first 20 boys teams and the first 16 girls teams to register for the League shall be accepted to participate while only players registered by states which are affiliated to NTTF are eligible to participate, while all players shall hold the current NTTF Player’s License, which must be produced on demand.