Oba Kizito is the men’s singles champion at the maiden edition of ITTF Africa Western Region Challenge and the Paris-based star believes Nigeria and others cannot prevent him from retaining the title in Lagos next month.
Lagos will welcome 14 West African nations for the second edition of the ranking tournament scheduled to hold from November 1 to 4 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
“I think nothing can stop me from holding on to my title in the absence of top players like Quadri Aruna and Olajide Omotayo. These are players I respect so much because of their quality and in their absence I am at liberty to dominate. I know Nigeria still has some players but they are not a threat to my ambition in Lagos. I am in fine form just like I performed at the last African Championships where I defeated some top players, coming to Lagos will not be an exception to retain my title,” he said.
Kizito who plies his trade in the second division of the French table tennis league ruled out the dominance of Nigeria in other events when he said, “We have a strong team as well and we can compete for the top spot in all the events. Our men’s team is very strong and we can compete for the title in the team and doubles events. There is no doubt that it is going to be a tough challenge in Lagos, but we are ready to silence the supportive Nigerian fans.”
He however, admitted that hosting the tournament in Nigeria would inspire and motivate most players to give their best as he described Lagos as the table tennis hub in Africa having staged several international tournaments in the past.
The tournament which serves as regional ranking will have Nigeria staking its pedigree in the region against teams like Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin Republic, Senegal, Togo, Gambia, Liberia, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Niger Republic, and Sierra Leone.
For the Regional Vice President ITTF Africa West, Ferdinand Sounou, the tournament would help the preparation of some of the players heading to the World Championships in Houston, United States next month.