On the first day of competition, for over 20 minutes, players taking part in the 2017 Africa Cup decided to delay the championships due to the lack of improvement in their lots at continental level.
When the match was expected to kick off at 4pm, the players in group wanted to address the spectators about their situation. This led to a meeting between the players and officials of Africa Table Tennis Federation led by its President, Khaled El-Salhy.
Despite plea by the ATTF President, the players insisted that they cannot be swayed by empty promises made in the past by the continental body but demand immediate action in terms of various issues over the last few years and the seemingly limited care for the athletes.
Khaled El-Salhy promised to take action but the players insisted that they want immediate action before starting the competition. But it took the ITTF representative, Executive Vice President Dr. Alaa Meshref, who intervened with a promise to assist in activating the players’ demands.
Meshref also pleaded with the players to choose their representatives that will meet with ATTF officials for a meeting on all their demands while he assured that the prize money for the tournament would be increased immediately to ensure the players do not face similar problems like other athletes whom have also acted out.
The first meeting between the athletes and ATTF officials took place yesterday, with the following comments forming part of the statement from the athletes (represented by Sarah Hanffou, Quadri Aruna and Olufunke Oshonaike; on behalf of Segun Toriola)
We are delighted to know that a working group has been formed to assist in updating the ATTF Constitution, and that the athletes are part of this working group.
We are looking forward for a more professional organisation which treats players with respect.
We expect more transparency, with the following documents being made public – constitution, minutes of meetings and financial statements.