It was an emotional feeling for Aruna Quadri during the final of the Portuguese national league final as the Nigerian played his last match for the team to claim its 37th title.
Quadri who joined the team in 2016 from GD Toledos was the cynosure of all eyes as fans and players hailed the Nigerian for his immense contributions to the team.
To win the fifth league title with Sporting, Quadri was full of appreciations to the team that he admitted has helped his career to glow.
Sporting CP won the fifth championship in a row and 37th national title on Sunday July 5, when they beat GD Toledos 3-0 in the 2nd leg of the final held at the High Performance Center of Vila Nova de Gaia, after repeating the same margin in the first leg a day earlier.
From the 18 league matches played this season, Sporting were unbeaten, dropping only five sets in all their matches to attain 70 points which is 22 more than second placed GD Toledos.
A delighted Quadri who will be moving to Germany next season described Portugal as a home away from home.
He admitted that after 10 years in Portugal, it was time to leave for a championship with another level.
“I am very happy here. Portugal for me is almost the same as living in Nigeria and I will continue to live in Portugal because I have a family here. I will train a few times at Sporting for the year,” Quadri said from his base in Europe.
On the final match against his former club, Quadri said: “It was a very difficult game particularly against my former team and mate, Diogo Silva, who is a player with a lot of talent. We played together for four years and it is always difficult to play against him,” confessed the Nigerian and African champion.
Quadri’s compatriot – Bode Abiodun, also admitted that it was a difficult match having returned to the game after several weeks of inactivity.
“It was a very difficult game, but I am very satisfied with the victory and with another title, which was the main objective of the season for us.”
Portuguese international, Diogo Carvalho also spoke about the tie, “We managed to win another title for Sporting, which was our goal. The match with Énio was very tactical, because we know each other well, we played together for six years in Spain, so we know each other’s game.”
The coach of Sporting, Chen CP Shao, lauded his players for the feat of another title. “This Championship final was complicated, with a long stop and now without the public at the stands. The players managed to show some quality, despite having been out for four months,” he stressed.
For the President of Portugal Table Tennis Federation, Pedro Miguel Moura, ending the league was a big achievement for the federation amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This was a very special moment for the Portuguese Table Tennis Federation, I hope it is very special for the whole community. Although this is the end of the season, we start with the starting point of what will be the next months of table tennis in Portugal, with this new reality.
“It was a learning process to continue doing what we like, which is to practice table tennis. Train and compete within the rules of protection with health.”