ABEOKUTA – Table Tennis Coaches in Nigeria have appealed to Corporate Organizations to give them helping hands in sponsoring their programmes to improve the game in the country.
The coaches under the umbrella of Nigeria Table Tennis Coaches Association (NTTCA) maintained that, lack of sponsorship for their programmes prevented them from exploring the talent of table tennis players.
Speaking to NEWSFLAGSHIP on Sunday during the final camping of 2018 National Coaching Clinic for female table tennis players in Nigeria, the National Secretary, Nigeria Table Tennis Coaches Association (NTTCA), Mr. Niyi Oladipupo emphasized that lack of funds to organize more developmental programmes for the female table tennis players handicapped the progression of the players.
Oladipupo said the nine days coaching clinic for the players in Abeokuta was to prepare them for future challenges.
He explained that, the objectives was to bridge the gap between the male tennis players and their female counterparts.
“We decided to organize this coaching clinic for the players during the holiday because we felt there is a wide gap between the male tennis players and the female. We discover that, we have been recycling old players over the years to represent Nigeria at international competitions.
“That is why we have decided to camp the children in Abeokuta for nine days now from different eight states to train them on the basics techniques and skills in table tennis.
“Not only that, we also teach them about morals, attitudinal changes and conduct on the game. We also advised them to focus on their education because after the game, that’s what they would fall back on.
“We are not in a hurry to start showing them for international competitions, but it is developmental plans to groom them for the future “.
Speaking earlier, the National Chairman, Nigeria Table Tennis Coaches Association, Mr. Kehinde Aiyelebegan expressed shock that, no Nigerian table tennis player has broken into the top 10 of global ranking, attributing lack of preparation and inability to groom the players at younger age as factors responsible for the poor ranking.
Coach Aiyelebegan therefore reiterated the commitment of NTTCA to positively impact and improve the training techniques of table tennis players in the country.
He however, urged parents and guardians to give the young players quality education and give them enough time to focus on their studies, saying sports and education should be at the same level.
“If you are a follower of table tennis, the first thing that strike you is that while champions if leading nation’s in table tennis are teenagers, the average age of our national champions tend to hover between 30s and 40s. Little wonder, no Nigerian, till date, has broken into the top 10 of global ranking in Table tennis.
“We believe the reason for this is that we do not start early enough to discover and groom our talents. This gap is what Nigeria Table Tennis Coaches Association has come to bridge.”
Meanwhile, no fewer than eight states across the country participated in the maiden edition of the Coaching Clinic. They are; Ogun, Lagos, Taraba, Kwara, Akwa-Ibom, Katsina, Kogi, Ekiti and others.
Dignitaries at the final event include; Ogun State Sports Commissioner, Afolabi Afuape, former Olympia, Kehinde Okenla, Barrister Mutiu Agboke, Director of Sports, Elder Sola Faleti, Nigeria Table Tennis Chief Coach and others.