Nigeria as host will lead 14 other African countries to the second edition of the ITTF Africa Western Region Challenge scheduled to hold from November 1 to 4 in Lagos.
The tournament which serves as regional ranking will have Nigeria staking its pedigree in the region against teams like Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin Republic, Senegal, Togo, Gambia, Liberia, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Niger Republic, and Sierra Leone.
According to the Regional Vice President ITTF AFRICA West, Ferdinand Sounou, the tournament is the first regional competition to be staged amidst the COVID-19 pandemic with all eyes on Nigeria to stage a befitting tournament just like it has been a leading nation organising an elite tournament in the continent.
Sounou who is also the President of Benin Table Tennis Federation said: “I think this regional tournament has come well in order to liven up the region a little because, in 2019, Lagos should have organised until it was moved to Abidjan. This is just the first regional tournament after my election last June and it is normal that we start the activities of the region from Nigeria which is a great table tennis nation within the region.”
For the chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Wahid Enitan Oshodi, the tournament would afford the players from the region to test themselves against one another, while all eyes will be on Oba Oba Kizitio of Cote d’Ivoire and Fatimo Bello of Nigeria, who are the defending champions in men and women singles events.
Oshodi believes the inclusion of team and doubles events would make the tournament competitive. “I believe this is another chance for the players to compete at the regional level being the second edition after the maiden edition in 2019 in Abidjan. Lagos is ready to welcome top players from the region and we are hopeful that we can stage the tournament with all the covid-19 protocol in place for teams and players.
It promises to be exciting as the Molade Okoya-Thomas of Teslim Balogun Stadium will come alive for the best of table tennis again this year. We are looking forward to an exciting tournament.”