26 Oct 2016

Nigeria finished as Women's Team silver medallists at last year's rendition of the African Championships, but the 2016 ITTF-Africa Senior Championships have turned out very differently for the country after making a group stage walkover exit.

by Simon Daish

Olufunke Oshonaike, who will represent Nigeria in the Women’s Singles competition has spoken about her frustrations with her country’s walkover defeats as her international teammates were not able to travel to Agadir for the Championships:

“I’m so very sad and disappointed” said Oshonaike. “Nigeria was walked over because we couldn’t produce a team. I understand that the other girls couldn’t make it since the Sports Ministry failed to fund their trip.”

Nigeria not only finished as Women’s Team runners up at the 2015 African Championships but also secured the same position at the 2015 African Games and with Oshonaike having appeared at the 2016 Olympic Games the lack of a Women’s Team at the tournament in Morocco has left the 40-year-old player with an air of disappointment, “Personally it is shocking to me seeing other African players who are not up to Nigeria’s standard being here whereas the so-called giant of Africa is not here”.

Oshonaike is not the only player competing at the Championships who has been left saddened by Nigeria’s absence in the Women’s Team competition, with Egypt’s Dina Meshref stating that the news in her opinion has had a negative impact on the event:

“It is not too good for a Championships of this status not to have a team like Nigeria because they are our main competitors in any Championships.” Meshref went on to add, “They have proven to be getting stronger even with the ageing of some of their top players.”

African Championships Olufunke Oshonaike