All Africa Games: Exciting Moment For Debutants In Brazzaville

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Being the 11th edition of the African Games, some of the players are participating in the multi-sports tournament for the first time but their dreams and aspirations are beyond their imagination.
From the Angolan teenagers to players from Uganda, Libya and Algeria, the moment would forever be cherished.
17 year-old Angolan duo of Ruth Tavares and Isabel Albino really showed a lot of promises in their matches with their enterprising style of play. Their hairstyle singled them out of the crowd but they are determined to do their country proud in Brazzaville.
Having undergone two-year training tour and with a doubles bronze medal at the African Junior Championship to show for it, the young Angolans believe the experience they would garner in Brazzaville would be helpful to them.
“I feel great to be playing among the top players in Africa because most of these top players are very experienced unlike us that have no experience. But in all we will continue to give our best and hoping for the best in Brazzaville. We will be afraid to play against any player in the tournament,” said Ruth Alvares.
However, the pair are very much fascinated with the quality of Dina Meshref of Egypt and Olufunke Oshonaike of Nigeria, and they described these players as the best in the tournament.
For 18-year-old Peter Muturi of Kenya, attending the tournament has shown that he needs to continue to work hard if he hopes to compete favourably with some of the top players.
“I never expect what I saw in Brazzaville because I thought I can make headway but what I saw from the quality of players has shown me that I must work hard and train well. Spend more time in training. I think for us as a team it is going to be tight,” he said.
The Kenyan teenager never hid his soft-spot for Omar Assar of Egypt, whom he described as the best player due to his quality. But he was also enticed with the quality still possess by Segun Toriola of Nigeria. “I am surprised that Toriola is still playing well because I have been hearing about him when I was young and seeing him in this competition has shown that he still have something to offer. He is a very friendly athlete and I love his attitude on and off the table.”
Kibone Amina of Uganda admitted that attending the tournament has given her hope that she still have a lot to offer despite her age.
“I am 23 and I thought I am too old to play. But from what I have seen in Brazzaville, I think I am still young to play the game. Particularly I am encouraged when I saw that Olufunke Oshonaike of Nigeria is still playing good despite being among the oldest players of the competition. Also, I found out that it is easier to be the best in Africa because all the players have same style and I just need to train well to be at par with them,” Amina said.
Just as she is fascinated with older players, she is also attracted to the skills of the Angolan teenagers, Ruth Alvares and Isabel Albino. “I love the style of the Angolan girls because they are young and playing good.”
25 year-old Waseem Alshawish of Libya described the experience as fantastic, saying, “I am really enjoying every moment of the competition because I have seen a lot of great players and I hope I can learn from them,” he said.
Alshawish admitted that the war ravaging Libya has not helped them in their training. “It was not easy training in Libya because we have been without electricity for a very long time. It is hard to train as the fund has not been available. But for now the country is a bit stable and that is why we were able to prepare for this tournament,” he said.
For Libya, Alshawish believes they are in Brazzaville to make the top 10 in ranking in order to make the list of African teams that will feature at the 2016 World Championship in Malaysia.
An excited Sannah Lagsir of Algeria would relish every moment of the competition being her debut as a member of the Algerian senior team. “I am very happy being in Brazzaville and I hope we can make it to the medal table because we have prepared well for this competition. Also I am looking forward to a medal in the women’s doubles with my partner, Islem Laid,” she said.
However, Rashidat Ogundele of Nigeria believes attending the tournament for the first time has thrown a lot of challenge to her. “I think it is a challenge to me that I must work hard in order to win medal. Having attended the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 2004, I am believing that my debut at the African Games will be memorable,” she said.

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