Coach Michael Oyebode of Nigeria says retirement is a personal choice and no one should try to impose it. Oyebode is reacting to reports where some players called on veterans Funke Oshonaike and Segun Toriola to resign for younger players to get national call up
The Italy based coach accused the country’s sports ministry of refusing to develop the younger ones. He said both Oshonaike and Toriola have shown resilience despite the short comings of Nigeria.
Oyebode was full of praises on the female player for using her personal funds to finance her trips.
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“Retirement is a personal choice and should come from the players. Nobody on earth should impose that on anyone. I personally chose to stop playing and I became a Coach because I wanted it. Funke Oshonaike and Offiong Edem still remain the best in Nigeria in the female category”.
“Presently in Nigeria, there is no technical development of the female sector. Thank God we still have Funke Oshonaike, Offiong Edem and Cecilia Otu, otherwise we risk not even winning medal at the African games in the female category”.
“The system refused to develop the younger ones and by this virtue Oshonaike and Edem are saviours to the female sector in Nigeria. We all saw what happened at the All African Games in Brazzaville, Nigeria would have not won an aluminum talk less of a medal. Yet, some persons are talking about retirement. I know they are playing the script of their sponsors. If care is not taken, Nigeria table tennis is heading for destruction” Oyebode revealed.
“I’m always proud of Funke, people don’t know anything, they don’t know what it takes to represent Nigeria, you are a legend”, he said.
On the issue of Segun Toriola, Coach Oyebode said; “don’t let us deceive ourselves, despites Oshonaike attaining the age they are today, apart from the few players that we know too well, nobody playing in Nigeria can stand him and the reason is simple. The kind of training and technical department they had received will continue to put them ahead of any one plying his trade in Nigeria”.
“Those playing in Nigeria do not have meaningful technical growth. It’s not their fault anyway but the system has made it like that. I don’t want to sound unpatriotic, but we must face the fact, Egypt chose to develop technically, structurally and tactically but we have remained redundant, thereby no Nigeria Table Tennis has meaningful improvement. They are behind in all aspects of the game; some of them that have had the chance of coming to Europe have confessed that they are near Zero in Table Tennis”, Oyebode said.
Oyebode fears Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia are all working hard and improving while Nigeria is heading for big trouble.