All is presently not well with the Para division of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation as aggrieved coaches and athletes, denied places on the Commonwealth Games bound team have vowed to expose the rot in the division.
With less than a month to the 22nd Commonwealth Games holding in Birmingham July 28 – August 8, 2022, Para Table Tennis, a supposed strong hold for Team Nigeria is facing some internal crisis which is threatening to boil over as some coaches and players have alleged foul play in the team selection ahead of the games.
Speaking from his base in Taraba, a senior para table tennis coach, Kunle Jeriogbe, has promised not to relent in his protest against the selection of coaches for the Para Table Tennis team heading into the games.
“I am taking my case to the Sports Minister. There is clear bias in the selection of national coaches for the team. How can they be planning to take someone who was dismissed from the Civil Defence to the Commonwealth Games? That was how they smuggled him to the Olympics in Tokyo almost a year ago. There are Para Table Tennis coaches all over the country yet they will ignore us and pick someone who is not with us and ask him to lead our athletes”, a very angry coach spoke to rulers world over the telephone.
A foremost Para Table Tennis player in the country, Eghosa Osaigbovo who represents Edo state in the class 10 category also expressed shock at his non-inclusion in the UK bound team.
“Since 2006, I have remained unbeaten in the country. Nobody has been able to defeat me in class 10 but I don’t get invited to the national team. It is time to ask questions”, the national sports festival veteran fumed during the interview.
Another national athlete Biola Adesope also expressed sadness over what he termed favouritism by the coaches going into the games.
“I was earlier notified that I was going to be in the team and I have been training seriously but up till now, I have not heard any news from them. It is now less than a month to the commencement of the games but nobody has told me to come to camp. Clearly something is fishy”, the class 10 athlete who recently moved to Oyo State from Rivers alleged.
Another team Edo player, Jelili Adedeji who would rather remain philosophical than confrontational is also an aggrieved player who has been snubbed by the national team handlers.
“Nobody can stop my shine, nobody”, he kept repeating when speaking to rulers world.
Our investigations revealed that some athletes and coaches, earlier given Commonwealth Games accreditation forms to fill some months back, have now been dropped overnight while all attempts to reach the Chairman, Para division of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), CP Anderson Bankole has so far proved abortive.