by Dora Jeler, High Performance & Development Operations Manager
Following the 2020 Congo Junior and Cadet Open held in Kinshasa; guided by Paul Tiendrebeogo, the ITTF West Africa Regional Development Officer, players at the Central Africa Hopes and Cadet Week and Challenge were able to focus on improving weaknesses identified during the preceding tournament.
One person in particular delighted with the week’s proceedings was St Mathieu Muana Mbuta, the President of the Table tennis Federation of the Congo.
“This course comes as a grace to our players who have stayed with the stereotypical types of training for a long time. The arrival of the ITTF expert gives us a way of looking at the training and coaching of young players. With the methods taught during the six days, our coaches will improve and produce efficient results at the next challenges”. St Mathieu Muana Mbuta
Equally, Hubert Buetwasa, the National Technical Director, agreed with the sentiment.
“We have seen, heard and understood many things through this camp. We thank the ITTF for the invaluable support”. Hubert Buetwasa
The Table Tennis Federation of the Congo has established academies to promote further training and development of coaches and players throughout the country, aiming at future successes within the region and outside of it.
At the same time further east on the African continent, led by Kaka Lawson, players and coaches from Eritrea, Djibouti and Ethiopia trained and competed at the Eastern Africa Hopes and Cadet Week and Challenge. All had one aim, to qualify further through the Hopes pathway; players and coaches were highly focused on the advice provided by the expert Kaka Lawson.
During the opening ceremony, Mr Tesfaye Bizane, the President of the Ethiopia Table Tennis Federation called for all participants to commit to the training camp with seriousness and attentiveness as they represented the Eastern Region of Africa.
Michael Kuria, ITTF East Africa Development Officer, was equally in a positive frame of mind.
“We have a big challenge to face, that of reaching the level of certain regions like North and West Africa and even surpassing them. For that we have to work hard, from here on in there will be no more room for improvisation. We must converge our efforts, all the associations of the region without exception to achieve this goal.” Michael Kuria
The players seemed to hear the message and gave their best throughout the training camp and competed with great enthusiasm in the Challenge, the host’s players remaining victorious in all four categories.
Importantly, training and competition was complemented by educational sessions for coaches, focusing on preparation of training sessions, sports training in general and tactical aspects of high level play.