This is the best of times for African players in Europe as Nigeria’s duo of Aruna Quadri and Bode Abiodun guided their Portuguese club – Sporting to the semifinal stage of the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) Cup.

Also last week, Egypt’s Omar Assar in his first season with German giant – Borussia Dusseldorf will be playing in the semifinal stage of the ETTU Champions League.

Despite losing 2-3 at home to visiting Spain’s Cajasur Priego in the EETTU) Cup, Aruna Quadri and Bode Abiodun set a new record for Sporting as the first team from Portugal to make it to the last four of the second prestigious European tournament.

In the ETTU Champions League, Egypt’s Omar Assar has equaled Quadri and Abiodun’s record after his German team – Borussia Dusseldorf advanced to the last four of the prestigious league in their bid to retain the title they won in 2018.

Last year, the Nigerian duo also aided Sporting’s passage to the last four of the ETTU Champions League but their fortune in the top level league was cut short in the group stage this season for them to compete in the ETTU Cup.

Having won the first leg against the Spaniard side 1-3, Quadri and Abiodun alongside Portuguese international – Diogo Carvalho could not hold sway at home as the visitors avenged their first leg loss with a 3-2 victory in Lisbon; but the win could not stop Sporting from advancing to the semifinal round of the ETTU Cup for the first time in the history of any Portuguese team.

This progress has now pitched Sporting against French giant – Hennebont which has in their fold, Englishman Liam Pitchford who has been in excellent form in recent times beating the likes of world and Olympic champion – China’s Ma Long in an international tournament.

For Quadri, the defeat at the weekend to the visitors was not expected as they were aiming for home win. But Quadri said: “You can never predict what will happen in any match in table tennis whether you are playing at home or away. If you are good form, you can win any match anywhere. But when the match was at 2-1, we were sure that this has automatically qualified us to the last four of the competition. The main priority for us in the match was to secure our qualification to the semifinal stage.”

For the semifinal tie against the French side, Quadri said: “It is going to be a tough match considering the quality of players in the French team. But we will not give them too much respect as we will be aiming to achieve what we could attain in the Champions league to make it to the final of the ETTU.”