28 Nov 2018

The Central Africa Zone Championships concluded recently in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the two day event concluding on Sunday 25th November; prior to the tournament from Saturday 17th to Friday 23rd November a training camp for aspiring young players was staged.

Organised under the direction of ITTF High Performance and Development, in conjunction with the Central African Zone and the Congo Table Tennis Federation, matters were conducted by Togo’s Kaka Lawson, a most experienced Course Conductor.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Overall, a total of 17 players, nine boys and eight girls alongside their local coaches attended; in addition to the host nation, players travelled from Burundi, Congo Brazzaville and Togo.

Staged at the “Spin Center”, two sessions were held each day, three hours in the morning from 9.00 am to 12.00 noon and two in the afternoon from 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm. It was an intense seven days of action; Kaka Lawson having designed a detailed itinerary in which he addressed both technical and tactical skills, as well as physical conditioning and the need for a strong mental approach in order to meet the rigours of international competition.

“The players were very motivated and very willing, ready for any sacrifice to progress and move forward. They were very serious and particularly attentive and focused; undoubtedly attracted by a medal or a title as the champion of Central Africa.” Kaka Lawson


Kaka Lawson demonstrates serving technique (Photo: courtesy of Kaka Lawson)

 

All responded to the efforts of Kaka Lawson, none more so that Congo Brazzaville’s Francelle Gamago.

“This camp has been very beneficial to us, it has allowed us to better regulate our technical moves and to work on game schemes; we are not used to working in such a sustained and methodical way. I also liked the multi-balls sessions. I thank the International Table Tennis Federation for initiating this training camp, we would like to have such a camp regularly.“ Francelle Gamago


Putting theory into practice, serving skills (Photo: courtesy of Kaka Lawson)

 

Most certainly the players gained great value from the initiative but there was another major factor involved; national federations were working together for the benefit of the sport. It was a fact acknowledged by St Matthieu Muana Mbuta, the President of the Congo Table Tennis Federation.

“Inter federation co-operation is essential. It was a real pleasure for us to welcome the athletes of other regions of the continent; the evaluation just after the competition allowed us to observe a greater self-confidence amongst the athletes. We noticed a great deal of enthusiasm from the players who were pleased to be with young people from other countries. They exchanged experiences and made new table tennis friends. Our mission also is to allow young people to flourish through sport; training camps always allow this to happen.” St Matthieu Muana Mbuta

Co-operation between all concerned, the end result was most successful initiative.


An attentive group, heeding the words of Kaka Lawson (Photo: courtesy of Kaka Lawson)

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High Performance and Development Coaching Kaka Lawson St Matthieu Muana Mbuta