Nigeria Table Tennis player, Kazeem Adeniyi have advised veteran player Segun Toriola to step down for younger players to participate in major tournaments.
Adeniyi was reacting to the rumors making the rounds that Toriola may likely make his eighth Olympic appearance at the Tokyo 2020 as well as wearing the colours of the country at the April Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
The Spain based player said Toriola who is a seven time Olympian should help groom upcoming players instead.
“I heard one of Nigeria’s most decorated players, Segun Toriola may likely participate at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Well, I’ll advice our living legend to step down for fresh blood to participate in major tournaments. Look at what happened at the ITTF African Cup in Kenya, our veteran was sent packing in the quarterfinals by Congo’s Saheed Idowu. It will be a disaster if it were an unknown player who beat our veteran” Adeniyi said.
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The 2011 African Junior champion said, “The 2002 Commonwealth gold medalist can help the country (Nigeria) based on his experience in grooming those that look up to him as well as others”.
“Segun Toriola is already 43 years of age, It’s not by playing alone you can achieve greatness but also by making the young blood better. I believe if this is done, more respect will be adjudged to him”.
Raising observation on the manner in which the federation selected players for the Commonwealth Games, Adeniyi said official trials ought to be organized to pick athletes on merit.
“As I said before towards commonwealth games no trials will be played again to select players to represent the country which is very bad. During the tenure of the former national coach Babatunde Obisanya, you need to be in good shape to represent Nigeria in table tennis event. I heard the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation used the World Rankings released by the ITTF which is not fair to other foreign and home grown players” he noted.
He however advised the federation to give younger players the opportunity and platform to showcase their God given talent.
“My advice to the federation is to encourage the young talent instead of depending on our old players. We have a lot of good players home and abroad if they are given opportunities to showcase their talent” Adeniyi concludes.