by Simon Daish (Interviews by Olalekan Okusan)
Earlier in the year Derek Abrefa stated that he wants to become the best Table Tennis player in Africa, and his success at the 2016 Ghana National Championships has set him on the correct path to achieving his goal.
Derek Abrefa began to grab the attention of Ghanaian Table Tennis followers back at the 2015 African Games when he beat Congo Brazzaville’s Saka Suraju in the Men’s Team group stages, and since then Abrefa has become a team regular for Ghana.
32 days on a training camp at the Nigeria National Training Center of the National Stadium in Lagos has allowed Abrefa to gain a vast amount of exposure against some of the country’s brightest players and the 24-year-old believes that his title victory at the National Championships was made a simpler task due to his training sessions in Lagos.
“Having played against some Nigerian players, it was not a tough decision for me to choose Nigeria particularly Lagos as the location of my training tour. In Lagos, Table Tennis is second to none because the players train very well and one thing that made Nigerian players stronger was their determination and never-say-die spirit… I must also admit that my trip to Nigeria aided my good performance at the Ghana National Championships”, Derek Abrefa.
Egypt and Nigeria have been two of the more dominant forces in African Table Tennis in recent history but Abrefa, who has obtained a scholarship to study at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, is hopeful that his country will soon be considered a major contender for international silverware and is looking forward to a positive future for Ghana’s Table Tennis set up.
“Despite the challenges we are encountering in our country when it comes to low support to less financed sports, Table Tennis in Ghana has a bright future and in the shortest time with the seriousness of my other colleagues and the sacrifice of our GTTA (Ghana Table Tennis Association) executives, Ghana will become one of the best Table Tennis countries in the world despite the corner in which we are coming from”, Derek Abrefa.
The first African Championships which were hosted in Cairo, Egypt in 1962 saw Ghana’s Emmanuel Quaye claim the Men’s Singles crown. Now 54 years later Derek Abrefa has taken his first steps on the road to moving towards achieving a similar feat to Emmanuel Quaye, with his victorious campaign at the 2016 Ghana National Championships.