Some months ago, she took to her social media page to announce her desire to actualise her passion for the emancipation of the girl child as a way of showing gratitude to God for adding another year on earth, and then her dream which had hitherto been a secret was revealed to the public.
Funke Treasure Table Tennis Championship (F3TC) will berth in the largest city in West Africa; Ibadan the city that invokes fond memories of her childhood, her long road to freedom from cultural subjugation of- a girl child’s place is in the kitchen -started in that ancient city and every girl deserves to hear her story.
“I want to give back to my home town Ibadan, I also want to ensure that we empower girls, we have the empowerment sessions embedded inside the championship, so what I want to see is a new generation of girls who know the value of recreation, who value sports as well and I don’t want it to be like girls who become women and only interested in getting married and having children, there must be more to life and I want the girls using the F3TC platform to understand that. We also want to give them the opportunity and the platform to aspire higher in table tennis, you will agree with me that girls play table tennis but they play at home ,they play in front of their houses and in their sitting rooms using their parents dining tables but what we are saying is if you know how to play come ,let’s give you the platform to play with other girls who know how to play and in the process you win something, you win cash price, you win trophies and you get the opportunity to travel outside Ibadan to compete in other places and travel out of Oyo state and travel out of Nigeria and begin to live life to the fullest”.
The veteran broadcaster cum author will require support from all and sundry to keep the fire of her dream burning as an enduring legacy.
“It is not a one off, it’s going to be an annual event, hopefully we pray that we get sponsorship and support, we have gone to great length to see this happen, hoping that when brands see what we have done they will understand the vision that we have and the next edition we’ll have enough sponsors”.
“As you can see I am working with Table tennis Icons in Nigeria ,our consultant coach is Bose Kaffo and you heard her, you heard her passion, you can feel the passion that she is not into this for play, we are not playing games here, so these people are going to be supporting me as I said earlier when I am getting tired they are there to hold my hands and say don’t get tired we are behind you and that’s what matters for me, so this is not going to be a one off by the special grace of God we are going to be back next year also and we are going to continue, for the girls in the second category we hope that we can be with them in the next eight years grooming them and helping them to stand strong in the game of table tennis and for the coaches that we’ll be training within this initiative, we hope that they will be a blessing to F3TC and the larger Oyo state and Nigeria”.
Budding talents discovered during the championship which holds from September 18-21 inside the sports hall of the Adamasingba Stadium, Ibadan will have the opportunity of meeting Icons of the game of table tennis and working with one of them Bose Kaffo who is currently engaged in sports science.
Kaffo who was a household name during her active days is excited to be part of the project.
“ We always say giving back, you know being alive coming around, people seeing you is giving back but you need more than that, you need people that can do something better than you did long time, you need people that can engage in what you did longtime and we are hoping that they could surpass what you did and that can only be done when you are part of an initiative like this, when there is an initiative like this and you are brought on board, you can’t shy away from it ,especially when you know that you missed this particular aspect because you don’t know among the lads who in another twenty years when you are around that you say I was part of this person’s road to greatness, so you want to this for them “.
May be this championship can throw up more female players who can create more competitive fight in the category which appears to be under the tight grip of old players who remain dominant but Kaffo is looking beyond the players, as a certified instructor, she wants to produce new female coaches for the game as well as improve the knowledge base of the existing ones through the –train the trainers seminar- of the championship.
“ I spelt out what I will love to do, as an ITTF coach course conductor, my joy was when Funke Treasure talked about girls initiative and told I her that if you want to do something like this we have always had problem with women coach, so I can come in as a coaching course conductor, I can train some coaches on level one, you don’t have to know how to play table tennis but if you can it is an advantage because you come into the game with some wealth of experience, so one of my joy is that I will be training the trainers who will be able to train the kids”.
On the 21st of September when the curtain is drawn on the first edition of the Funke Treasure Table Tennis Championship (F3TC) and the lucky ones smile home with cash and trophies, every girl child in that indoor hall can leave with their heads high carrying the seed of empowerment sown through sport.