Nigeria is set to lead 10 other nations to the maiden International Table Tennis Federation Western Africa Challenge scheduled to hold on November 2 to 3 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
The tournament which serves as qualification for the 2020 Africa Top 16 Cup has 21 men and 18 women competing for the title at the 3500 capacity Salle Polyvalente Du Parc Des Sports De Treichville in Abidjan.
Besides Nigeria, other teams aiming for the top prize are Benin Republic, Ghana, Togo, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Niger Republic, Sierra Leone, Guinea and host – Cote d’Ivoire.
From the 15 countries that made up the region, 11 will be present at the two-day tournament sponsored by the world table tennis ruling body – ITTF according to a statement.
According to the Tournament Director, Professor Germain Karou, all is set for the competition as all arrangement have been put in place to ensure a smooth tournament.
“We hope that this tournament will be a very successful one and that the Ivorian people and region will have opportunity to discover the best players from the region,” he said.
The Professor who is also the President of the Federation of Ivorien Table Tennis (FITT) said: “We are expecting 11 countries out of the 15 countries in the region, while about 39 players will be in Abidjan for this tournament.”
For the host country, he said: “Hosting the tournament means a lot to FITT and it is another great opportunity that help will to stimulate the development table tennis and win more people to the sport in our country. Hosting this competition is a great opportunity for the country to showcase its talents and raise the profile of the sport.”
For the Deputy Secretary General of FITT, Ali Kanate, the staging of the tournament would help to showcase the expertise of Cote d’Ivoire in handling international event.
Ali Kanate said: “We thank International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the African Federation (ATTF) and the President of the West African region for the confidence in us staging the tournament.
“We hope to use this tournament to show our ability in organizing an international event particularly being the maiden edition of the regional tournament. By hosting the first edition of the regional table tennis championship, Côte d’Ivoire is on the map of West Africa as a leading player.
“The stakes involved in the organization of this competition are numerous and that is why we have made every effort to make it a memorable one for the players.
“Apart from putting up good organisation, we want to show our ability as a top table tennis playing nation in the region and that is why we have sent our players on training tour of France in order to make it to the podium at the event,” he added.
For the President of the ITTF Africa (Western Region) Wahid Oshodi, the staging of the tournament would help to build close relationship among the participating teams.
“We are grateful to ITTF and ATTF for their support and we are hoping that we can use this tournament to bring the countries in the region together and forge ahead in growing the sport.
“We are expecting firework in Abidjan and I am confident that the host nation will put up a good show. I am hoping that more teams in the region will register and be part of the competition,” Oshodi said