East Africa TT heads say lack of equipment, sponsorship hurt game

Nairobi, Feb 19 (IANS) A meeting of nine heads of table tennis national bodies in East Africa has singled out lack of equipment and sponsorship as the biggest threat to the growth of the sport in the region.

Members at the inaugural International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF)-Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) Eastern Africa meeting listed areas of concern in the sport, out of which the two areas formed point of convergence as the most problematic area that dragged the growth of the game behind, reports Xinhua news agency.

“There is need for member countries to transform the manner in which the game is played and run in the region,” ITTF-ATTF President, Eastern Region, Andrew Mudibo said in Nairobi on Sunday.

“For us to achieve what has been not good enough over the years in terms of play and good governance, it will call for concerted efforts from all member nations,” said Mudibo, who is also the president of Kenya Table Tennis Association.

Mudibo announced that France-based Ping Sans Frontiers has pledged to help spread the game in the region through improving player training, providing equipment, and passing on techniques for making home-made tables as well as sending professionals to train players in the region.

Youth development, media presence and visibility were also cited as key components towards championing growth of the game.

The meeting, which was attended by representatives from hosts Kenya, Rwanda, Djibouti, Uganda, Tanzania, Madagascar, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia resolved to hold their next meeting in Kampala later in the year, after the World Championships in Germany scheduled for May 29-June 5.

Mohammed Ali Guamale, the president of Somalia TTA, said as the new head of the sport in his country his key objective will be to regain lost glory and involve as many children as possible to play the game.