Nigerian Table Tennis star Segun Toriola has revealed that the 12th African Games in Rabat, Morocco, might be his last African Games, Concise News reports.
The Ogun State-born star is ready to quit the stage this year as he hopes to make it to Tokyo and possibly retire in 2020 after the Olympic Games.
Toriola won two gold medals in his maiden outing at the African Games at Harare 1995 in Zimbabwe and never missed out on the podium except in 2015 in Congo Brazzaville when he failed to make it to the medal zone.
However, he has won 10 gold medals for Nigeria at the games with four of them being the singles title from four consecutive games from 1995 to 2007.
“I think this will be my last African Games and I am hopeful that I can make it to Tokyo and possibly retired in 2020 after the Olympic Games. There is no doubt that I have done my best and it is high time for me to leave the stage for upcoming players to take charge. I am hopeful that we can win the men’s team title in Rabat to secure our place at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” Toriola said.
The France-based athlete was also named the Captain and flagbearer of Team Nigeria to the 12th African Games, describing the gesture as an honour for him while promising to be a good example.
While Nigeria contingent are hoping to make the nation proud by hauling the gold medals, South Africa coach Ashley Wagner believes the squad is the team to beat in Morocco.
The South Africa tactician said tactically Nigeria had an edge over every team in the competition based on the quality of their players.
“I must tell you that the title is there for Nigeria to win because they have the quality and they came with variety to this tournament. Their unorthodox style of player stands them out and they are here with players of their style of play. They are tactically better than any team in this competition and unlike the Egyptians who are one-way. Their style is predictable and they are no match to the Nigerians,” he said.
The South African believes the standard of play is high as some of the teams have quality players in their fold.
“I think this will be the toughest African Games for me because every team is strong as there are no pushovers. I am hoping we can make it to the podium but it is a tall order for us as a team,” Wagner admitted.