As the host of the 2015 African Games, Congo Brazzaville armed with their Chinese imports shared the overall medals with Egypt while Nigeria had to settle for third place in the medal table of table tennis event.
But when the 2016 ITTF African Senior Championships serves off on Monday October 24 in Morocco, it is Nigeria-born Saka Suraju that will be leading the Central African nation to the championship and the former African champion believes Nigeria and Egypt would not prevent them from making it to the podium in Morocco.
“That our Chinese players will not be playing in Morocco is not a big deal for us because we have been training for past weeks for this championship and I don’t see Nigeria stopping us despite their star player – Aruna Quadri.
In Africa, we know how to play ourselves and I must also let you know that I had beaten Aruna Quadri in major competitions and beating him in Morocco will not be an issue for me. I know Nigeria has a nation is blessed with quality players but we are also ready for Nigeria and Egypt. It is a 50-50 situation because nobody is sure until the final day,” Suraju said.
Suraju, who featured in his third Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, said he has put the disappointment of the Olympics behind him, while he is looking forward to a good outing in Morocco.
“We also want to represent Africa at the World Team Cup, so we are going to be a title contender in the men’s team event. The title is not for Nigeria or Egypt alone and we will ensure that with my teammates – Saheed Idowu and Abiodun Lawal, we will put everything into the tournament to pick the sole slot,” he added.