The youngest players at the Nigeria Open 2018, the Mustapha brothers who hail from Borno State, have been a big hit on social media. Mustapha Mustapha, 10, and his brother Musa, 9, played at their first international tournament on Wednesday in the U-21 men’s singles.
Despite being overpowered by their older opponents in their two group matches, the Abuja-based duo took away valuable lessons with a vow to keep improving. The boys picked up the sport just a year ago through their father, Saheed Mustapha, a former player himself.
Their story has been a hit on social media where it was the most retweeted post of the opening day on the tournament’s official account, @ITTFNigeriaOpen. At the time of going to press, it had been retweeted more than 40 times while gaining enquiries from fans and journalists.
Mustapha, whose role model is Germany’s Timo Boll, says: “We began playing table tennis in 2017 and have played in a few other tournaments. But the Nigeria Open is our first international tournament. We have learnt a lot from playing against experienced players.”
I will win Nigeria Open in future, Mustapha Jr. declares
The younger Musa, whose role model is Japan’s Harimoto Tamokazu, announces confidently: “I will win the Nigeria Open in future.”
Mustapha lost to Nigeria’s Augustine Emmanuel 11-3, 11-2, 11-8 in the first group game and to Wang Xinyang of China in the second.
Musa lost to Tobi Falana 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 in his first group game before falling to Wael Ziad of Egypt in his second game.
Mustapha brothers confident nonetheless
The experience acquired from the Nigeria Open 2018 will help the Mustapha brothers’ confidence as they continue their table tennis journey.
In some other Day 1 results, Abiola Kaminu Ademola lost to Indian’s Bhanja Ronit while Adegoke Abiodun Alade was defeated by another Indian, former ITTF Junior Circuit champion, Dani Mudit. Adegoke had earlier lost to Oloruntade Adeola. Abiola meanwhile was victorious over fellow Nigerian, Akomolafe Sunday 4-3, in a closely contested initial game.
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