The strategy to pick an All-male team for the Table tennis event at the XXI Commonwealth Games is justifiable and now paying dividends according to national head coach, Monsuru Bello.
Even without the Country’s top ranked player, Aruna Quadri, Team Nigeria defeated England 3-2 in the semi-final on Monday to advance to the final where they’ll play against India.
Speaking after the semi-final of the Men’s Team semis, Coach Bello [h/t Oni Afolabi] reiterated that the team’s track record in the games made the decision all to easy.
‘We really planned it, we came together; with Aruna absent, we played a strategy they didn’t understand and it worked because we have very good players. At this point we believe we can go for gold.
‘Right now we are at the podium stage and we feel no pressure. We’ll take our time and strike. We’ll be the first sport to pick a medal for Nigeria.’
‘There was no such thing as marginalization with leaving out Females. We concentrated on the men’s team because of what they’d achieved in the past. We have brilliant female players, but we understood the peculiarities of our situation and that’s what we did.
‘This is the first time we’ve come this far in the games and it’s as a result of how much work we put into it,’ Bello said.
Meanwhile, speaking on the progress of team Nigeria, former African and National champion, Funke Oshonaike expressed delight at the team’s progress.
Oshonaike told Babafemi Raji on Brila FM’s Sports Machine that, “I’m sure they’ll get gold. If they don’t then silver will do.
“We have unlocked another level of success in the games, surpassing our achievement from four years ago in Scotland.
‘These are my guys and I am really proud of them,” she explained.
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