by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Press Officer
A total of 10 national associations attended; in addition to Andrew Mudibo, national association presidents were present in force.
Madagascar’s Jean Herley, Uganda’s Robert Jjagwe, Somalia’s Mohammed Ali Guamale and Ethiopia’s Mary Tesfaye were all present as were South Sudan’s Stephen Gore and Rwanda’s Eugene Semigambo. Similarly Issa Mtalaso, the Secretary of the Tanzania Table Tennis Association attended, whilst Mohamed Omar represented Djibouti.
“For us to achieve what has been lacking over the years in terms of play and good governance, it will call for concerted efforts from member nations. Members have listed areas that we have found problematic in the region and the essence over the next few years will be to champion growth”, Andrew Mudibo
Several areas for immediate attention were addressed: finance, partnerships, administration, equipment, competition, communication, media, public relation and marketing.
The outcome was to appoint members present at the landmark meeting to specific roles. Eugene Semigambo was appointed finance co-ordinator; Robert Jjagwe will be responsible for public relations whilst equipment, training and competitions are the subjects for Mohammed Omar.
“As the new President of Somali, my key objective will be to regain lost glory and involve as many kids as possible in the game. You will be seeing a lot more from us in terms of development from the grassroots all the way to the national team”, Mohammed Ali Guamale
It is envisaged that various sub committees will be appointed.
The meeting highlighted lack of equipment and sponsorship as the biggest threat to the growth of the sport. Youth development, media presence and visibility were also cited as key ingredients towards championing growth.
“Table tennis in Tanzania has gone through turbulent times over the years but we have now come up with comprehensive junior development programmes and identified seven different regions where we shall be coaching young players. We want to be the leading ping pong playing nation in the region” Issa Mtalaso
However, there is assistance; the French based non-governmental organisation Ping Sans Frontières has offered help with equipment.
Most importantly, delegates agreed to hold their next meeting in Uganda later in the year, immediately after the Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Germany.