National junior league has improved our male players – Bello

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Nasiru Bello, the national coach of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), says the 2018 National Junior League has been improved the performance of the nation’s budding male players.

Bello said the male players have exhibited wonderful skills in the competition which began at the National Stadium in Lagos on July 27.

The NTTF-organised league which ends on Saturday has N1 million for cash prizes, with 48 boys and 24 girls from state associations and clubs taking part.

“They have all performed well, but the boys have distinguished themselves. I am particularly impressed because their skills show that we will have competent players to replace ageing players.

“I have also observed from the beginning of this league that the girls are not pulling their weight as expected and this is not healthy for the future of our sport.

“It is necessary to have an even growth of the boys and girls, with comprehensive programmes to nurture their potentials for subsequent leagues and other national championships,” Bello said.

He therefore emphasised on the need for states and clubs to improve their development programmes.

The coach however acknowledged that the league has provided a good platform for coaches to wake up to their responsibilities in the search for talents amongst girls and develop their potentials.

Sixteen boys and 16 girls with the highest number of points during the qualifiers will compete during the finals on Saturday.

The league is part of programmes designed to herald the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Challenge Nigeria Open holding in Lagos from Wednesday to Aug. 12.