by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa Press Officer
It was the fifth time that Aruna had been a member of winning Sporting outfit, having somewhat ironically moved from GD Toledos in 2016.
He became the cynosure of all eyes; fans and players hailed the Nigerian for his immense contribution to the team. Meanwhile Aruna was full of appreciation to the team that he admitted has helped his career to grow.
From the 18 league matches played this season, Sporting remained unbeaten dropping only five games in all their matches to attain 70 points, impressively 22 more than second placed GD Toledos.
Home from home
A delighted Aruna, who will be moving to Germany next season, described Portugal as a home away from home.
“After ten years in Portugal, it was time to leave for a championship with another level. I was very happy here, Portugal for me is almost the same as Nigeria and I will continue to live in Portugal because I have a family here. I will train a few times at Sporting in the year. It was a very difficult game particularly against my former team and mate, Diogo Silva, who is a player with a lot of talent. We played together for four years and it is always difficult to play against him.” Quadri Aruna
In both contests, Aruna lined up alongside Diogo Carvalho and national team colleague Bode Abiodun.
“It was a very difficult game but I am very satisfied with the victory and with another title, which was the main objective of the season.” Bode Abiodun
Likewise, Portuguese international, Diogo Carvalho, who had beaten Énio Mendes in the opening match in the second leg, reflected in a positive manner.
“We managed to win another title for Sporting, which was our goal. The match with Énio was very tactical, because we know each other well, we have played together for six years in Spain, so we know each other’s game.” Diogo Carvalho
Delight from the players, the reaction was no different from Chen Shao, the Sporting coach.
“This championship final was complicated, with a long stop and now without public in the stands. The players managed to show some quality, despite having been out for four months.” Chen Shao
Achievement for Federation
An achievement for Sporting, it was also an achievement for Pedro Miguel Moura, the President of Portuguese Table Tennis Federation, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the season had been brought to a successful conclusion.
“This was a very special moment for the Portuguese Table Tennis Federation, I hope it is very special for the whole community. Although this is the end of the season, it is a starting point of what will be the next months of table tennis in Portugal, a new reality. It was part of a learning process to continue doing what we enjoy, which is to play table tennis, train and compete within the rules of protection. We have been the first sport to complete the season. It is a very special moment for us. I would like to give thanks to the club presidents, because they agreed to come here to play the final phase and to the Federation staff; they have been tireless in these last two weeks. ” Pedro Miguel Moura
First Leg: Saturday 4th July
SPORTING CLUB PORTUGAL 3-0 GD TOLEDOS
Quadri Aruna v Énio Mendes 11-4, 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-3
Diogo Carvalho, 3 – Diogo Silva 13-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-7
Bode Abiodun, 3 – Boboye Oyenyan, 11-8, 11-4, 10-12, 11-6
Second Leg: Sunday 5th July
GD TOLEDOS 0-3 SPORTING CLUB PORTUGAL
Énio Mendes v Diogo Carvalho 3-11, 3-11, 11-5, 5-11
Diogo Silva v Quadri Aruna 11-5, 6-11, 7-11, 3-11
Boboye Oyenyan v Bode Abiodun 8-11, 5-11, 8-11