To give states the chance to be part of the maiden U-16 national league, the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) has fixed March 21 as registration deadline.

According to the Secretary General of NTTF, Chinedu Ezeala-Ogundare, it becomes necessary to give the participants ample time to perfect their registration for the championship.

“With the success recorded by the senior national team at the ITTF World Team Championship in Malaysia, we want to ensure that we groom players that will come through the rank. That is why the U-16 National League becomes necessary and we have decided to give the states the opportunity to finish their registration for the competition.

“We will not allow late registration because we want to give the teams chance to be part of the tournament which will help us to unearth new talents,” she added.

The U-16 national league will involve players across the country and it is meant to give new players the opportunity to make national junior teams as well as work their way into the senior team.
It will hold on March 29 to April 8 at the National Training Centre in National Stadium while the grand finale which is known as Super League will hold on May 14 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

Each state across the country is expected to present two boys and two girls while the top eight players in the boys and girls event will qualify for the Super League.

According to the prospectus of the tournament, states wishing to participate will register with the NTTF, while only the first 20 boys teams and the first 16 girls teams to register for the League shall be accepted to participate while only players registered by states which are affiliated to NTTF are eligible to participate, while all players shall hold the current NTTF Player’s License, which must be produced on demand.

According to the President of the NTTF, Wahid Oshodi, more talented players would be given the opportunity to showcase their skills to the national handlers.

“I think our focus in 2016 as in 2015 is that we must continue to develop the junior and cadet players. We must give our most talented young players the right atmosphere for them to grow. This of course means giving them the best coaching and affording them the opportunity to play in tournaments internationally so we can assess how well they are doing against the best young players in the world.

“We have done quite well in this regard in the last two years but there are a lot more gifted players all over the country and we must do our best to discover and harness them. We hope to be able to create new tournaments outside Lagos and Abuja. If we can find the right partnerships with the private sector this will assist greatly in boosting the spread of the game all over the country,” Oshodi said.