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Table Tennis: Toriola blames Aruna’s absence for Nigeria’s performance in Busan



Team Nigeria is out of contention for a place in the knockout stage of the ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships taking place in Busan, South Korea, and handler of the team, Segun Toriola, has attributed the team’s performance to the absence of their talisman Quadri Aruna.

Aruna withdrew from the tournament following the illness he had few days to the competition and his absence may have affected the fortunes of Nigeria in the Asian city of Busan.

“It is obvious that the absence of Aruna affected the team’s performance because being a top player, his presence alone would have motivated his teammates to do well. Even before our match against Japan was a walk-over, the technical crew of the Asian giant were fretting thinking that Aruna may pose a big challenge for them,” said Toriola

“Fortunately for them, Aruna withdrew for them to have an easy passage in the competition. Aruna no doubt is one of the most respected players in the world because of his quality and for me his presence in the team would mentally and psychologically help his teammates to do well.

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“We lost to Madagascar because we don’t have him in the team because the Madagascans are a strong team and looking down on them will not be entertained.”

The former African champion who was named as the acting coach of the national team by the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) said it is time that young players were exposed to top class competitions just like Tunisia and other African nations have been doing lately.

“We need to start exposing our young players to competitions of this magnitude so that they can learn from the likes of Aruna and Olajide Omotayo. This will boost their morale going into any competition just like what Tunisia has been doing lately.

“Other countries like Algeria now have quality players who had failed to make the French team and are now seeking success in their native country to be able to make it to the Olympic Games. We need to watch out for this kind of player and we must continue to support our young players in their quest to compete favourably with their foreign counterparts,” he added.

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