By James Agberebi:
Veteran Nigerian table tennis player Funke Oshonaike has expressed shock following the untimely death of former national junior star, Azeez Ogunlade.
According to the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, Ogunlade died on Sunday after a brief illness.
Reacting to the sad news, Germany-based Oshonaike lamented on her Facebook page: “Can somebody please tell me this is not true! Just read that my table tennis brother Ogunlade Azeez Akinkunmi is dead! I'm so very sad, sick, confused and very empty right now.. Oh my God , I cannot believe this oooooo."
The Secretary General of NTTF, Chinedu Ezeala-Ogundare, said the passing of the 20 year-old Ogunlade was disheartening as the player had started playing his way into the senior national team after a successful stint as a junior player.
“It is shocking that Ogunlade had to die at this time because he was getting himself closer to the senior national team. His death came as shock to everybody in the table tennis family and we are yet to get over his demise. As a cadet and junior player, he had represented the country at international tournaments starting with the 2008 African Junior Championship in Egypt and his last international outing was at the last African Club Championship in Cameroun this year where he represented Union Bank,” she said.
She added: “The country will surely miss this young player and we sympathise with his family and all table tennis family in Nigeria, African and the world that such a player could depart at a prime age."