The only African and Nigerian featuring in the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) Champions League, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri will today lead Sporting against Portugal’s Marcos Freitas team and France’s Pontoise Cergy in the third round of the lucrative league in Lisbon.
Quadri, who finished among the top eight in the men’s singles of the just-concluded Swedish Open, will hope to repeat last week feat against the Portuguese number one star.
Despite not being so impressive in their two wins and one loss, Quadri has been looked up as the mainstay of Sporting and he will step into the leadership shoe when they battle France’s Pontoise Cergy at home in the crucial encounter.
Having been humiliated 3-1 in the first leg encounter, Freitas will be hoping to avenge the Swedish Open disgrace against the Nigerian.
As the captains of Sporting and Pontoise Cergy, Quadri and Freitas will be the cynosure of all eyes in the epic encounter.
Quadri remains the only African to have featured in the lucrative ETTU Champions League and he hopes to lead Sporting to their first qualification to the last eight of the competition.
The Group A brings a do-or-die clash for double winner of the league, France’s Pontoise Cergy having recorded two loses and one win, Freitas travels to his homeland Portugal to face newcomer Sporting, which has two wins and one loss.
Portugal’s side upset French club in the opening round, 3:1, thanks to Joao Monteiro who provided two wins, beating Can Akuzzu and Freitas in the decider.
In other Group A game, Poland’s Bogoria, who are yet to record a victory in their three matches hosts defending champion – Russia’s Orenburg, who are yet to drop any match and they are also very close to their 8th consecutive quarter-final.
So far, there are three clubs unbeaten so far in the competition and they are reigning champion and four times winner Russia’s Orenburg, 2009 runner-up Germany’s Ochsenhausen and 2012 semi-finalist, Germany’s Saarbrucken.