From Taofiq Jimoh Adeniyi, Ilorin
Former Nigeria table tennis Captain, Kasali Lasisi has termed Nigeria table tennis coaches as too lazy, following the qualification of veteran Funke Oshonaike for her seventh Olympics, even as he advocated for a change in the coaching tactics, especially at the grassroots.
Oshonaike, 45, set new African record by becoming the first African woman to qualify for her 7th Olympic event, and has revealed she will retire from the game after participating in the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Oshonaike defeated Cameroon’s Sarah Hannfou 4-1 (12-10, 11-4, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6) in the deciding match of the ITTF-Africa Top 16 Cup in Tunisia to make it to the table tennis event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
But for Kasali Lasisi, the feat can only happen where there was no deliberate effort to work on other players that will challenge Oshonaike, whom he said, have stayed long enough on the stage.
‘For me, I don’t want them to see me as somebody that is criticizing the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF), and that’s why I will want to congratulate Funke Oshonaike for attaining that feat.
‘But if you look at it critically and technically, Nigerian coaches should go back to the classrooms. How can one player be going for the Olympics for a period of 28 years, and is still the player qualifying, and you cannot produce younger players to challenge her, considering her age? They should plus one and one and see what that means.
Oshonaike made her Olympics debut in 1996.
‘If a star player reigns for eight years, you as a coach should, within those years, groom other players that will start giving him or her great challenge. Immediately you discover one star, you are working on another star.
‘And maybe why they don’t know the implication was that, we Nigerians believe and rely on government service, where, no matter what happens, you get your salary at the end of every month. If it were to be on contract terms, they would have been sacked for a very long time.
He said that the feat by Oshonaike only goes to show that Nigerian coaches are lazy.
‘Most of our coaches here are lazy, and even the Oshonaike who talk about, and Aruna Quadri were not trained by Nigerian coaches, he concluded.