by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
It is a quite daunting itinerary, the man very much at the helm of proceedings being Guerfel Lotfi, an accountant by profession, the President of the Tunisian Table Tennis Federation.
He spoke to Olalekan Okusan, the ITTF-Africa Press Officer
We are ready to take off with these tournaments particularly fully ready to make the African Junior Championships and Youth Olympic qualifiers a real success. Tunisians love sport and of course table tennis a popular sport. We are all proud and honoured to host this big event, from political leaders, to regional officials, media and athletes. All logistics have been put in place and a marketing campaign for this event is ongoing now in Tunisia.
Planning to be successful makes things happen. Our commitment, coupled with the idea of working within the spirit of one team, is the key to our success. Tunisia has hosted major ITTF tournaments in the last three years, the African Junior and Cadet Championships in Nabeul 2013, the Arab Championships 2016, the Africa Hopes Week plus 11 ITTF World Junior Circuit events. We are ever more experienced in staging competitions and we will continue to raise the bar.
Two main things to highlight is first is about using efficiently relationships; second is to put in place an excellent marketing campaign for the event. Sponsors are interested in the tournaments organized by the Tunisian Table Tennis Federation; this has helped to increase the income.
We are looking forward to a successful tournament this year. I am sure every team coming will make a wonderful contribution to the success of this event in terms of exhibiting sport values, discipline, love and respect to one another throughout the competition.
Table tennis seems not to grow in Africa due to a lack of resources in terms of poor budgets, qualified coaches and logistics. However, in some countries, table tennis is competing very well with football. I believe more efforts are required to make our sport well known and more popular. In Tunisia, we dream about competing worldwide not only in Africa.
I think table tennis is improving lately however, we can do better. Africa is changing rapidly in a very positive way. More efforts are required to promote table tennis in schools, universities and everywhere within the continent.