by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Member Relations Press Officer
Furthermore, she succeeded in style, she prevailed in straight games, winning in less than one hour (11-3, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10).
Staged on a show court table, from start to finish, Goda simply blew her challenger away with play mature and wonderful to watch; the effort underlined Goda’s hunger for success in this continental tournament.
“I was so scared when I got to know that I will be playing against one of the best players, but I was confident going into the match. When I started, I tried to play very well because my opponent is an experienced player. When the fourth game was at 9-9, I was scared thinking that if I lose the match, it might be difficult for me but then I was also so focused and in the end I won. I hope I can continue to move on in the tournament, with the aim of winning something here. I must admit that it is not going to be easy at all.” Hana Goda.
In her post-match reaction, Oshonaike, ever-gracious, who has been playing in this tournament since the early 1990s, described Goda as the future of the sport in Africa.
“I am so proud of her because I have not seen a player with such unique spin. From the way she plays, you could see a lot of hunger in her and passion for the sport. For me, she is the next big thing in Africa. I think Nigeria should take a cue from what Egypt has done with Hana because she started early with good coaching. So, we must start early with our players and combine that with quality coaching.” Olufunke Oshonaike
The former African champion, who at 45 year of age, is the oldest female player in the tournament, disclosed that this might be her last African Championships.
“I don’t think I will be playing this competition again, having played several editions. I might come as a member of the Nigerian team but not as an active player. I have done enough, and I think I need to give the younger generation the chance.” Olufunke Oshonaike