21 Sep 2021

The first ITTF High Performance Training Camp to be held in Sub-Saharan Africa concluded in Yaoundé, Cameroon on Monday 30th August; for five days, Africa’s most promising players were exposed to cutting-edge techniques in the sport.  

Seventeen in number and from five African countries, all were united in their verdict on the value of the knowledge acquired by being introduced to fresh approaches.

 by Olalekan Okusan, Member Relations Media Officer

Under the guidance of their coaches and with technical input from the ITTF High Performance Manager, Dominique Plattner, eight women and nine men were taken through new techniques in table tennis coupled with multi-ball training and special serve-receive practices.

Countries which participated included Botswana, Cameroon, South Africa and Uganda.

Sean Dekop, 19 years old from Botswana was delighted.

“I am honoured to be the first player from Botswana to participate in this kind of training. I have learnt a lot from the ITTF expert, especially in terms of speed on the table and consistency in the use of backhand and forehand during matches. I am now conversant with the multi-ball drills which will surely help my speed.

Mixing with other players has also exposed me to new cultures, especially in terms of food. I am used to Cameroonian cuisine now  by just being part of the training camp. I hope that ITTF and ATTF can organise more of this kind of training for players like us who are still growing in the sport.” Sean Dekop

Similarly, Uganda’s 24-year-old Florence Seera was clear with regards to the value of the camp.

“My coming to this camp is indeed an eye opener to improve my skills, especially in terms of winning points. I am now conversant with new techniques which I was not used to before the camp. I also learnt new playing styles from other players.” Florence Seera

Equally positive was Cameroon’s 23 year old, Igor Boulum.

“I have gained so much from the camp, especially in term of discovering my mistakes. I thought I knew a lot  about the game before now, but I was able to learn new techniques here and in detail too. I now know that I must focus on every ball because every point is important in any match. Also, I must have the fighting spirit which will complement my focus in any match.” Igor Boulum

Players satisfied, it was the same for the coached, Botswana’s Kabo Mosarwe was most positive.

“I have gained from this camp. The multi-ball play we did here has helped my players to improve their speed on the table. Frequent training using the multi-ball approach will surely help most of our players to be fast while on the table. As a coach, I now know that training my players on multi-ball play will help them a lot. I hope it will help other coaches in my country as well.” Kabo Mosarwe

Likewise, Robert Jjagwe, President of the Uganda Table Tennis Association  expressed his delight.

 “I am very excited and happy that we could have this kind of training. After the Covid-19 lockdown across the continent, starting with this kind of training is commendable on the part of the ITTF and ATTF, especially with the free boarding and feeding provided for the players during the training. This is a major boost for table tennis  in Africa and I hope this will not be the last this year. We want to have more of this in the near future on the continent.” Robert Jjagwe

Delighted players and coaches, it was the same from the course conductor

“I am very happy and proud that I could conduct the ITTF Africa High Performance Training Camp in Yaoundé. This is my first time in Africa and it’s  a great experience, to see the different culture in and out of the venue; to better understand the different needs compared to other continents and of course also to get a deeper insight into playing and training systems of the different African member associations. I was very impressed by the attitude, discipline, performance and improvements of the participants throughout the five days training camp.” Dominique Plattner

Additionally, Dominique Plattner expressed appreciation to the President of Africa Table Tennis Federation, Khaled El-Salhy and the Cameroon Table Tennis Federation, Alfred Bagueka Assobo for their great commitment to make the camp a reality.

“I enjoyed the camp a lot and now I am looking forward to seeing great matches at the ITTF African Championships,” the Austrian added.

The five-day camp was organised by ITTF High Performance and Development was hosted the Cameroon Table Tennis Federation at Sports Palace Complex.

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