With few hour into the New Year and few weeks to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Africa Senior Championships, the rivalry between Nigeria and Egypt will again resume in Cairo come January 23 to 29 and Nigeria’s hope, Aruna Quadri has opened up on his intention to lead the battle against the Egyptians just like he did during the 2014 ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup where he defeated Egypt’s duo of Omar Assar and El-Sayed Lashin to clinch the title.
The Portugal-based player said in this interview that he is hopeful that Nigeria will halt the North Africans dominance. However, the Oyo State-born athlete also appealed to the Director General, National Sports Commission (NSC), Gbenga Elegbeleye and Minister of Sports, Tammy Danagogo to ensure that funds is provided for the team to be part of the tournament, which also serves as qualifiers for the 2015 World Championship in China.
1. What are you looking forward to in Egypt?
As a member of Nigerian team, I am looking forward to a better outing in Cairo. Egypt has been ruling looking Africa for years now and our men and women’s team are looking forward to stop the Egyptians dominance. I never won the African championships individual event in my career and winning it will make me happy in January and I seriously believed it’s possible and God will help me as am working harder for the war in Cairo.
2. Egypt has been dominating the tournament in the last five years, do you think Nigeria can halt the reign of the Egyptians?
Yes it’s true and I seriously believed that their dominance is very possible to be stopped in January.
It’s not going to be easy for any team to defeat them due to the players their team has but it’s very possible if our team has the needed support.
Meanwhile, Tunisians and Algerians including the Congo Brazzaville are not walk over matches but we see these teams as a lesser threat to our campaign in Cairo next year.
3. How ready are Nigerian players for the tournament?
We are all ready for the war in Cairo due to the fact that everyone knows what’s at stake and we will all fight to retain our lost glory in Africa this time. Our federation has been working harder since these years and this is the right time that we can compensate the great effort of our federation president and his members.
Just like we put smile on his face in commonwealth games, we are all working harder as a team to make him the happiest man in January in Cairo and may God help us more than our imagination
4. Egypt’s Lashin is the men’s single champion, are you targeting the title?
As a matter of fact, the title with Lashin is still eluding me in Africa and winning it will make me fulfilled a little bit just like the way am targeting African games title that was won by Lashin’s compatriot Omar Assar in Maputo and winning the games individual title as well this year will make me fully fulfilled in Africa and it’s very possible with hard work.
5. How prepared are you for the competition?
I think I will be well prepared for the tournament, after the ITTF Star Awards in Dubai, I am going straight to Porto to join my team mates and practice together for two weeks in the same venue that I prepared for the World Cup. Presently everyone is on holidays but I am not on holidays fully as am running day after day to keep fit and I wish myself and the entire team members best of the best of luck in career.
6. What are your targets in 2015?
Like I said earlier, winning African games team and individual events is one of my objectives for 2015, African championships singles is also yet to be registered in career and am hoping and praying to win it, retaining my singles cup title is another hard target of which is very possible again in 2015.if am lucky to do so, surpassing my World Cup record is another objective.
I hope to feature in about ten world tours in 2015 provided that I get sponsors as am still looking for sponsors to play tournament. If am lucky to get sponsors, making it to ITTF World Tour finals is my biggest target in 2015.