by Nathaniel Somuah, Ghana Table Tennis Association
Playing against the top ranked player in the Cadet Girls’ Team event, Egypt’s Sara Elhakem, listed at no.64 on the current Under 15 Girls’ World Rankings, she was beaten in five games (8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 8-11, 11-6); the lack of experience was her downfall.
Like Sara, with constant practice and development, she will become a star one day. In her second match in the competition against Tunisia’s Farah Mahjoub, the scores were much closer; each game being decided by the minimal two points (11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9).
At 13 years old, Ayoko Fanida Amah says she is ready to make a mark in table tennis.
“This tournament has been very helpful. I have to improve my concentration level in matches. I have learned that an improved level of concentration in wins points and wins the match itself. Good concentration wins matches. At this level, you have to put in all your effort till you win a point. Back home, I am relaxed in matches but coming here, I have realized that each point is vital and I need to work very hard for it. I noticed that a match is not done until I gain the last point. I have the impression that I have improved over the last three days here in Abidjan.”
“I have learned some techniques from the Egyptian and Tunisian male players and I am curious to discover the playing styles of good players in Africa. I will practise more to improve my techniques. It is my heart’s desire that one day I will become Africa champion” Ayoko Fanida Amah
For Kaka Kawson, former Togolese national table tennis team star and now the Togo Table Tennis Federation Technical Director, Fanida is on the right path.
“I discovered her three years ago together with her younger sister. She is passionate about the game and she trains under instruction. Unfortunately she is always too much in a hurry to win points. She needs more physical training to strengthen her muscles and make her more flexible; high level performance in this fast paced game. This level of play requires much agility. We are going to work on that.” Kaka Lawson
The plan of the Togo Table Tennis Federation is to get an ITTF Olympic Solidarity Scholarship for her to push her up. We want to help her to combine table tennis with school. Some parents are worried about kids doing too much sports so the aim for us is to help her combine both studies and sports. We want her to be amongst the best in her category and later become one of the best players in Africa”. Kaka Lawson
Notably Kaka Lawson is a most experienced Course Conductor for the ITTF Development Programme