09 Aug 2018

They sauntered around the venue, always dressed the same; in the qualification stage of the ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open, which commenced in Lagos on Wednesday 8th August, the host nation’s Mustapha brothers were applauded for their displays.

Musa, ten years old, Mustapha, one year younger had travelled from Abuja to compete; they were excited competing against foreign stars.

by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer

In the Under 21 Men’s Singles event Musa was beaten by compatriot, Tobi Falana (11-3, 11-6, 11-2) and by Egypt’s Ziad Wael (11-7, 11-4, 11-3); similarly Mustapha experienced defeat at the hands of Emmanuel Augustine, also from Nigeria (11-3, 11-2, 11-8) and when facing China’s Wang Xinyang (11-5, 11-2, 11-3).

What they lacked in height was compensated with their strokes and service. Despite being on the losing side, they were satisfied with their performances, hoping that with time they can make it to the podium of the championship in near future.

“I am so happy that I am competing in an international tournament like this because I cannot believe I am playing in front of a large crowd in Lagos. It was my father who introduced us to the sport and he has been our coach as well. I love the game because it is only sport I have been exposed to at home. I love Zhang Jike because he is one of the fastest players in the world. I know we can make it to the big stage as well.” Musa Mustapha

For Mustapha, playing at the Nigeria Open is a dream come true. He is eager to meet his idol, Quadri Aruna.

“I would love to be like Quadri Aruna because of his style of play, particularly his forehand and how he drives his ball. I am still looking forward to meeting him in Lagos because this is one of my dreams. I am happy coming to Lagos because I never imagined that what I have been watching on television would be a tournament I will be competing in. There is no doubt that I enjoy every moment on the table even though I lost. We hope we can use the remaining days of the competition to learn from the top players.” Mustapha Mustapha.

Their story has been a hit on social media where it was the most retweeted post of the opening day on the tournament’s official account, @ITTFNigeriaOpen. At the time of going to press, it had been retweeted more than 40 times while gaining enquiries from fans and journalists.

The players were accompanied by their father, Said. He was present to cheer his boys during their matches.

2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open: Newsletter (Tuesday 7th August)

2018 ITTF Challenge Seamaster Nigeria Open: Newsletter (Wednesday 8th August)

Challenge Series 2018 Nigeria Open Mustapha Musa Musa Mustapha

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Day 3 - 2018 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open