Waidi Enitan-Oshodi, former President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), says the loss of the two gold medals in the male and female team events of the 12th African Games is sad.
Egypt on Friday confirmed its supremacy over Nigeria in Africa in table tennis, defeating Nigeria in the male and female team events of the ongoing 12th African Games in Morocco.
With the victory over Nigeria, Egypt have secured the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games tickets in the men and women team events after emerging as the continental champions.
Egyptian teams have now become the first to berth in Tokyo for the team events of table tennis.
The team, with two gold medals have increased the medals haul of Egypt in Morocco.
It was the Egyptian ladies that first secured their slot after beating Nigeria 3-2 in the final.
The comeback of the Nigeria team was thwarted by Dina Meshref.
The Nigerian ladies were down 2-0 but with spirited efforts from Edem Offiong and Olufunke Oshonaike, put the match at par with the Egyptians but were thwarted by the African Champions in the fifth match.
She defeated Cecilia Akpan 3-0 to hand Egypt the gold medal.
In the male category, the same senerio played out as Nigeria had to come from 2-0 down to level up at 2-2.
The sheer determination from Aruna Quadri and Olajide Omotayo restored Nigeria’s hope of beating the Egyptian, but Omar Assar displayed brilliant performance to beat veteran player, Segun Toriola who is aiming for eight Olympic Games with a 3-0 bashing.
Enitan-Oshodi told the Nigeria News Agency after the match, that it was a very sad loss for Nigeria.
“It was a very close match between the two super powers in table tennis in Africa, it very sad that Nigeria lost the Olympics slots and gold medals to the Egyptians in team events.
“Both matches were very close, the Egyptians deserve their victory, congratulations to them, we didn’t get our tactics right, but all the same I am not the coach, so I don’t know why he choose that tactics.
“Maybe he should have used another tactics, moreover, we have very experienced players in the team, maybe it’s not their day,’’’ Enitan-Oshodi said.
He said that NTTF should go back to the drawing board.
“There are lots of work to be done, in terms of preparations for such Games, not only preparation for Games, but year round preparations, because we have the talents in abundance,’’ he said.
Oshodi advised the players to look ahead to the remaining matches in the Games.
“I think the team should forget about the loss and look ahead because there is still five gold medals to play for.
“The president of the federation set a target of four gold medals, it’s still very possible, it could have been good if we had won today because we would have been in the driving seat.
“But all the same, we have to move on and remain focused for the task ahead,’’ the former Lagos State Commissioner for Sports said.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)