Ranti Lajide, an International Certified Table Tennis umpire, has tipped Nigeria players in the ongoing African Games on podium finishing to secure their places for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The players were expected to perform creditably well, saying that the games would serve as their qualifier for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
NAN reports that Toriola Segun, Quadri Aruna, Abiodun Bode, Omotayo Jide and Mati Taiwo would feature in the men’s events, while Oshonaike Funke, Akpan Cecelia, Ojomo Ajoke, and Bello Fatima would compete in the female events.
“Our players must play this games with all commitment and seriousness it requires, especially the females, because the games also serves as Olympic qualifier for 2020; so, we expect they start and finish well.
“I am saying this because following the progress of our female team in recent times and at various championships, there is every need for them to do more to have a podium finish.
“We wish them well, and believe that they will give us quality and credible representation in all events during the games that will secure Nigeria’s place comes 2020 Olympics,” he said.
The umpire urged Nigeria female players to be focussed, and be on the look out for opponents from countries like Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia in the games, saying that they were dreadful.
According to him, it is high time Nigeria female silenced such opponents, adding they had participated in series of competitions in recent past that should reflect on their games.
“Nigeria females have gannered adequate exposure which I believe they will bring to bear and play up their games this time around,” he added.
Nigeria males are grouped alongside Madagascar and Kenya in Group A; Egypt, Congo, DRC and Eritea (Group B); Congo Brazaville, Mauritius and Angola (Group C), while Algeria, Senegal and Ethiopia are in Group D.
Also, Group E has Togo, Ghana and Djibouti, while South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco are in Group E.
In the females, Group A comprises Egypt, Kenya and Morocco; Group B Nigeria, Uganda and Congo Brazaville, Algeria, Mauritius are in Group C, with the Group D consisting of Tunisia, South Africa and Ethiopia.
Two teams from each group will advance to the next stage with winners in the males and females event qualifying for 2020 Olympic Games