Nigeria’s Funke Oshonaike has called for support from home fans as she targets an excellent outing at the 2017 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Challenge.
The competition which runs from August 9-13, will take place inside the Molade Okoya-Thomas Indoor Sports Hall, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
Speaking at the pre-championship press conference on Tuesday, Oshonaike said she was not under pressure considering the fact that the competition was on home soil, and called for the support of Nigerians in her bid to “surprise everybody.”
“As a Nigerian, I expect Nigerians to support us,” she said.
“It’s not like going abroad to play and not being supported. But I am here right now and I hope Nigerians are going to support me and the rest of the Nigerian team.
“With the little I have been able to do in terms of preparation, I hope I am going to do well. My dream is just to have fun and do well in this competition.”
The 41-year old, a six-time Olympian and gold medalist at the 2007 All Africa Games in Algiers, was seeded sixth in the women’s singles category.
Her African rival, Dina Meshref of Egypt, was seeded third behind Portugal’s Jieni Shao who was seeded first, and Hungary’s Szandra Pergel, second.
“All the seeded players are very good,” she continued.
“I am seeded number six, so all of them are good, from number one to number eight, they are very good.
“Dina [Meshref] is a very young girl and has a lot to give. Like I said, nothing is impossible and I am very experienced. The last time I defeated her was because of experience.
“I am home now and if I can get the support of Nigerians and if things go according to the way they are suppose to go, Funke Oshonaike is going to surprise everybody.”
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