Nigeria men and women teams did not drop a match at the ongoing 2015 African Games to qualify for the quarterfinal round of the team event in table tennis.
From the start, the male team took every match serious by ensuring that they defeated their opponents with same margin of 3-0. Four teams – Tunisia, Botswana, Namibia and Sudan were drawn with Nigeria in group two and true to their rating, the team completed the rout of all the four teams with an emphatic 3-0 bashing of Tunisia to top the group.
Also, the women team led by veteran, Olufunke Oshonaike took a cue from their male counterpart when they hammered Botswana and Mauritius 3-0 to top the group and berth in the last eight of the championship.
Debutant Ojo Onaolapo told SportingLife yesterday that he is happy making his final debut at the games but admitted that the best matches are yet to start. “I am happy that I have finally made my debut at the games and I am happy being part of the team’s qualification for the quarter-final. But I must admit that the best matches are yet to start because when it gets to semi-final where Nigeria may likely face Egypt or Congo Brazzaville, that is when we will start feeling the competition. For now, we are just warming up for the big matches,” Onaolapo said.
Like Onaolapo, another debutant, Rashidat Ogundele described her experience at the games as challenging as she is hoping to make podium in her first outing at the games.
However, players from Uganda and Angola are being encouraged to aim high with the performance display by Oshonaike.
Uganda’s Amina Kibone told SportingLife that she is impressed that despite her age, Oshonaike still plays good than other younger players. “I thought I was too old at 23 to play table tennis but when I saw Oshonaike, I now know that I am still young to play. I am really encouraged by her performance,” she said.
Ruth Alvares and Isabel Albino are fascinated by the style of play of Oshonaike whom they described as a legend of the game.