Dotun Omoniyi, who coached Team Nigeria to the just-concluded 2016 International Table Tennis Federation World Junior Championships in Cape Town, on Thursday attributed their poor performance to lack of exposure.
Omoniyi told the News Agency of Nigeria on telephone from Cape Town that the players suffered stage freight and were not confident of themselves on the table.
“They were fidgety and that only boils down to lack of confidence. They were easily intimidated by their opponents.
“The players need to work hard on their confidence level so as to always deliver when at international meets.
“I implore my fellow coaches to help table tennis players in their respective states to build their confidence.
“The players can’t do it alone, believe me, they need the coaches to achieve to confidence,’’ he said.
Omoniyi, who is the Head Coach, Ondo State Table Tennis Association, added that the young players needed more exposure to up their games.
“Honestly I believe that if they attend regular competitions, they will be adequately exposed just like their counterparts from other countries.
“An athlete gets the required exposure not by playing and staying within a zone or his/her country.
“I urge the sports ministry to make adequate provisions in 2017 for athletes to attend more international competitions,’’ he said.
Seven players, comprising four males and three females, represented Nigeria at the competition which served off Nov. 30 and ended Dec. 7 in Cape Town, South Africa.
No fewer than 20 countries participated in the competition but Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria and South Africa were Africa’s representatives at the 14th edition of the championships which debuted in 2003.
This is the second time Africa is hosting and the first time it is being held in South Africa.
The junior girls’ singles has always been won by China since inception.