President of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) Engr. Ishaku Tikon has declared that Team Nigeria Table Tennis players are set for the forthcoming 2020 ITTF top 16 qualifiers and do the nation proud in the game of table tennis.
A confident Tikon disclosed this in the early hours of Friday February 22, when the team were departing the shores of the country aboard a Moroccan airline that left by 5:30am Nigerian time.
The 2020 ITTF top 16 which will hold in Germany and China serve as World Cup qualifiers, while that which will take place in Tunisia will serve as Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifier. The top 16 is expected to hold from February 23 to 26, while the Olympic qualifier would start on February 27 to 29, 2020.
Tikon, who is also an Executive Board Member of the Commonwealth Table Tennis Federation also stated that he has always kept contact with all the players listed for both the African top 16 and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers in Tunisia and they are all currently in high spirit and are eager to do Nigeria proud.
“I spoke with the African legend, Segun Toriola, ITTF Africa current highest ranked player, Aruna Quadri, reigning All African Games Champion, Jide Omotayo, Eden Offiong and Funke Oshinaike, not forgetting the only home based female player in the team Fatimah Bello and they all gave me their words”, he said.
Tikon reiterated that the team is not going to Tunisia for Jamboree but to show their class as the best in the continent. He commended the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare for the support he has been giving to the team.
Meanwhile, national team head coach, Nasiru Bello popularly referred to as ‘Alakoro’ will be departing with FatImah Bello, the only home based player in the team on Saturday, while the remaining 5 players would join them from their various bases.
Aside being the NTTF Boss, Tikon is also the 3rd Vice President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee as well as Chairman of the NOC Olympic Africa Development Commission.