Table Tennis

Segun Toriola talks about new role as Nigerian players aim for victory in Rwanda

Renowned Nigerian table tennis player turned coach, Segun Toriola is now leading the national team. He’s focusing on helping young players grow in the sport.

At the 2024 ITTF Africa Cup in Rwanda, Toriola explained why he decided to stay involved in table tennis even after retiring as a player. He believes it’s crucial to support and train young talent to make the sport better.

Toriola is optimistic about the Nigerian team’s chances, especially with talented young players. He’s determined to help them succeed in both African and world competitions.

Though some players might not qualify for singles tournaments, Toriola remains hopeful. He says they can still compete in other events and rankings.

“Before I retired,” Coach Toriola shared, “I was thinking that I don’t want to do what all the ex-players do. After they retire, they move away from the game and that is why the game is not improving.”

“I just decided that when I retire I will be; even if I’m not a coach, I will still be around the game,” he explained.

This dedication to the sport translates into a clear vision for his coaching role. “This is what I want when I retire from playing and I want to give something back to table tennis. The most important thing to me is the development of the game, it’s going to start from the youth; train them, don’t discourage them so that they can be champions of Africa and the world.”

Coach Toriola sees immense potential in both the young men and women of Nigerian table tennis. “We have a lot of chances and the female, too we have a lot of chances in the female team because in Egypt they already qualified,” he stated.

While acknowledging the possibility that some players might not qualify for singles tournaments, he remains optimistic. “If they don’t qualify in the singles then they will do it in ranking,” he explained, “But the rule is that they have to play.”

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