For more than nine months in 2015, Saheed Idowu spent most of his days in Hubei, China where they (Congo Brazzaville) were honing their skills ahead of the 2015 African Games.

When the games ended in Brazzaville last September, their months of training paid off as Congo Brazzaville beat Egypt and Nigeria to overall medals at the multi-sports tournament.

Having played professionally in Sweden, Saheed Idowu decided to move to Portugal where he now plays for GD Toledos in the Portuguese elite league and few days to the kick off of the 2016 ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup in Sudan, the Nigeria-born Congolese is full of optimistic that the tide will turn to his side this time.

But he is aware of the task ahead of him. “My expectation is to go to Sudan and performs well. But I am totally sure that I will perform well because I have been training in my clubs for weeks in order to be in top shape for the championship,” he said.

“In Africa, we knew ourselves very well and there is no much difference in our style of play. Also table tennis is nobody’s game as it depends on your current form during any competition.”

“Everybody is a good player but we have some tougher ones like Aruna Quadri (NGR), Omar Assar and El-Sayed Lashin (EGY) and not forgetting the old warlords, Segun Toriola anmd Saka Suraju who are very experienced. But I think all of them will see the best of table tennis in Sudan,” he added.

In readiness for the task awaiting him in Khartoum come February 14 to 15, Saheed Idowu said: “Having been selected based on ranking in Africa, I have been tuning up for week in my club in Portugal and my teammates have been helpful and I hope this will aid my performance in Sudan.”