12 Apr 2019

Eight months ago in August, Mustapha Mustapha was a young man to attract the attention on home soil at the Seamaster 2018 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open in Lagos; more recently at the 2019 Ghana Junior and Cadet Open he reached the semi-final stage of the mini-cadet boys’ singles event.

He was beaten by the eventual winner, the host nation’s Ibrahim Gago Nuhu (11-4, 11-7, 7-11, 9-11, 11-6).

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Supported by his father, an engineer by profession, following the conclusion of the ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament, Mustapha Mustapha has remained in Accra to watch play progress in the 2019 Africa Youth, Junior and Championships.

He is just a little too young to be playing; he is only eight years old.

Sitting in the stands, he has been charging his compatriots to play better with instructions here and encouraging chants there; his unique celebratory style has attracted attention from many people. Some say his high-pitch, animated celebrations affect opponents, the youngster says he is just happy urging his compatriots to do well in his unique way.

Mustapha has been described as the next big thing in Nigeria’s table tennis due to his intelligent play. Older opponents have had to wonder how the young lad, who barely sees over the table, can be so clever and difficult to play against. He has a most entertaining style of play, a fact Ibrahim Gado Nuhu acknowledged.

“Mustapha is a very clever player; the semi-final tie against him was the toughest match I played on my way to winning the gold medal. We had trained together during the ITTF Hopes Training last December and in that competition I beat him 3-0. In the World Junior Circuit tournament I noticed he had improved. I recognized this when we played because you cannot know where he will place the ball. He such a fast player. I believe he will be a great player for Nigeria.” Ibrahim Gado Nuhu

2019 African Youth Mustapha Mustapha

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