by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Not only is it a new chapter for Quadri Aruna; it is a new chapter for both his continent and country. He is the first player from Nigeria, the first from Africa to play in the competition.
“I am really so happy that my dream of playing with the best in Europe is becoming a reality. It is indeed a new challenge for me. My president and coach are concerned that we may lose early in the tournament and not gain third place for the ETTU Cup. They actually wanted us to play the ETTU Cup but our European ranking was good enough to qualify us for the Champions League.” Quadri Aruna.
A total of 16 teams compete in the European Champions League, the initial stage being organised on a group basis with four teams in each group; teams finishing in first and second places advancing to the quarter-finals.
TTC Fakel Gazprom, the reigning champions, who emerged successful last year with Jun Mizutani, Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Vladimir Samsonov on duty occupy the top seeded position in the competition. Next in line is TTSC UMMC, also from Russia with the German clubs, TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen and Borussia Düsseldorf completing the top four names
Sporting Lisbon is a newcomer to the competition but in the past, they did compete in the Europe Club Cup of Champions, the forerunner of the European Champions League. In addition to AS Pontoise Cergy, they are in the same group as TTC Fakel Gazprom and K.S. Dartom Bogoria Grodzisk Mazowiecki.
Notably another newcomer is the Polish club, K.S. Dekorglass Dzialdowo who will include Hong Kong’s Wong Chun Ting within their ranks.
European Champions League 2017 / 2018: First Stage Groups and Fixture Schedule