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Lagos Country Club hosts Funke Oshonaike U-21 table tennis tournament


Funke Oshonaikle is Team Nigeria’s assistant captain to the Rio 2016 Olympics. PHOTO: AFP.

The Lagos Country Club will from April 26 to 28 host an U-21 table tennis tournament to celebrate the birthday of the country’s foremost female player, Funke Oshonaike.

Oshonaike, who missed the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, will be a year older on the final day of the competition.

According to a statement on a whatsapp group, Family United by Sports, many sponsors have concluded plans to be part of celebration.

The organisers revealed that the club decided to host the event when the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) snubbed the player’s request to use the knock up hall of the National Stadium, Surulere for the event.

“At the end of a heated debate over the exclusion of women from the table tennis event of the Commonwealth Games, I spoke with some members on how to put smiles on Funke Oshonaike’s face,” the admin of the group said.

“Not surprisingly, they were all enthusiastic about the idea. In fact, one of them asked for the budget, which was put at N3.5 million, and he pledged N1 million. He has since redeemed it.

“Coincidentally, Funke has a foundation that organises an annual National U-21 Table Tennis Competition. Interestingly, I found out that her birthday is April 28. So, I thought it wise to have a table tennis event as part of the activities to celebrate her.

“The event, which will have the best male and female U-21 table tennis players pan Nigeria in attendance, will hold at the Ikeja Country Club, Joel Ogunnaike Street from April 26 to 28.

“A member, who has chosen to remain anonymous, has taken care of Funke’s return ticket, while Honourable Ayo Omidiran has given the sum of N200,000 towards this event and has promised to be physically present.

“Taye Ige, who is also part of the platform helped with securing the venue as Tunji Brown, the owner of Owu Sportswear, is kitting the teams and officials for free, same as Dr. Kwekwu Tandoh, who has promised to assist in anyway possible.”

The organisers also revealed that the Nigeria Football Federation’s (NFF) First Vice President, Seyi Akinwunmi has also donated N100,000 to support the tournament.

Reacting to the support, Oshonaike thanked everybody involved in sponsoring the competition for their gesture, saying it is a good cause because it hurts her whenever she sees players begging for kits because they cannot afford it.

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