The Evolution of Teqball in Nigeria, Prospects
By Amaechi Agbo
On Tuesday, 18th June, 2019, a team made up of two Nigerian players won silver medal at the just concluded first Africa Beach Teqball Games held in Cape Verde.
Thankgod Chukwuemeka Adindu and Emmanuel Ogbonna Nwabueze were the two players – and the first Nigerians – to ever play or participate in a teqball championship.
Prior to their emergence at the continental scene with a silver medal to crown a huge successful debut in the teqball competition, a relatively – if not an outright unknown sport in Nigeria – teqball was only played in one academy in entire nation.
Chukwuemeka and Ogbonna are all players of Dreamland Football Academy based in Abia State.
Introduction of Teqball in Nigeria
Teqball was introduced in Nigeria for the first time during the 5th Dreamland/Embassy of Hungary Cup. The sport originated from Hungary but the headquarters is in Switzerland but through the Embassy of Hungary in Nigeria, Teqball was introduced in the country.
According to Emmanuel Ndudi Edede, Chairman/CEO Dreamland Football Academy, whose academy is in partnership with Embassy of Hungary in Nigeria “The embassy in conjunction with Federation International de Teqball, FITEQ, came with staff that was led by Greg Muwayi from the teqball manufacturing company in Hungary with other colleagues. They also came with two World Cup players. Two of them played in the world cup final. So they came with their crew and introduced the sport in Nigeria during the 5th Dreamland/Embassy of Hungary Cup held at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja in November 2018. That was when Teqball was introduced in Nigeria officially. Then they also donated three teqball tables – one to Dreamland, one to Galadima Football Academy here in Abuja who were the champions of that edition of the tournament and the third one to the federal ministry of youth and sports.
I took mine to my camp and my boys were using it. So when the invitation for the competition came, we discovered that among the three tables that were donated, Dreamland Academy was the only one that made maximum use of the table. Hence the result we are having today.
When the nomination came for the tournament, we had no option than to send our best legs in the person of Thankgod Ogbonna Adindu and Emmauel Nwabueze. We have about 5 of them that are very good but the two we sent stood out. We nominated them under the partnership of the FITeq. It was an all-expenses paid competition and through the help of the Embassy of Hungary in Nigeria; the players went to Cape Verde through AirSenegal and AirTunisia. They connected a charted flight from Senegal to Cape Verde and were received on arrival by Ari Bekker, the Coordinator Teqball Championship in Cape Verde. They were well taken care of, highly motivated and participated in exhibition games with other teams.”
The road to silver medal
“Twelve teams participated in the teqball tournament,” Mr Ndudi continued. My boys were spectacular in the competition. I knew they are good but I never expected them to reach the finals of the championship. They played their first game against Mauritius and defeated them 20-10. They played their second game against Algeria and won them by 20 – 14 score line. In the semi-final match against the host nation, Cape Verde, our boys defeated them by 20-10 to reach the final which they lost to Cameroon by 15-20
Nigeria was able to get silver in the first Africa Beach Teqball game. Some of the Nigeria contingents for the Beach Games in Cape Verde were surprised to see that Nigerians are participating in the event.”
Building on Cape Verde exploits
“The sport is relatively unknown in Nigeria and there is the need for us to build on this success recorded by ensuring that teqball is developed in Nigeria. Although the table is quite expensive but we need to try and bring in the tables and give them out to various clubs or academies across the country. And then organise once or twice a year competition among the clubs who have the teqball tables. If between November 2018 and June 2019 the boys from Dreamland were able to prepare for the tournament and got to the final, I think with full preparation and concentration, we will rule the tournament in Africa.”
Teqball as an Olympic medal prospect
Now that teqball has been classified as an Olympic sport, it will be an avenue to win medals for the country. I think that Nigeria as a country needs to build on this achievement by these young lads from Dreamland Academy so that it will become a generally accepted sport in Nigeria. It will also be a medal hopeful even in Africa or the world at large.
What is the different between teqball and football?
Teqball is played on a table while football is played on a pitch or field. Teqball can be played by single individual or double players. Even three persons can also play the game as a team. Teqball, for me, from my little experience of it, the table is curved and spherical in shape at both ends. You can play the ball with your leg or your head. You can joggle the ball a bit before you can pass to your teammate. It has a defender and also an attacker. It is an interesting game, less stressful than football.
What next for teqball in Dreamland and Nigeria?
“The players arrived Nigeria on Friday, June 21and we are going to take it up from there. In Dreamland, when the teqball was introduced, the boys were doing it as part-time sport because their major concentration was on football. But now they are back, they are motivated by the achievement they recorded in Cape Verde. It will motivate the boys as well as others in camp. I think by next edition, if we have the opportunity to represent Nigeria again either by nomination or tournament, which I am sure we will win, I know the boys will do better.
For me currently in Nigeria, I don’t think there are anybody that can beat them in the game. How can you beat them when you do not know how to play the game? In Nigeria today, whether you like it or not, they are the champions. For them to go to Africa and win silver is a great motivation to them
Three boards were provided for Dreamland Academy, Galadima Academy and the ministry of youth and sports development. However, I do not know whether the other two used theirs but for us in Dreamland Academy, we fixed our board permanently and use it every day. We drew our programmes in such a way that after football training, we go for teqball, we do not force the players to play. We only encourage those that have interest to play.
I cannot talk about the other two, I can only tell you about my academy. One thing I also know about this achievement is that the boys have already be registered with the Federation International De Teqball, FITEQ which means they are now registered members. When they are having their programmes from time to time, across the world, the boys will also be invited to participate. That is what they said before they travelled to Cape Verde. They will invite them for other tournaments maybe in Europe or Asia.
The players have made Dreamland Football Academy proud. The have made the Embassy of Hungary in Nigeria proud. They have also made the FITeq, who catered for their flight to Cape Verde, proud. Above all, they made Nigeria proud,” he concluded