Atanda Musa’s enthralling carriage on table endeared him to many table tennis buffs and his rivalry with the late Yomi Bankole at the annual Asoju Oba Cup in the 1980s brought prominence to table tennis across the country. But the US-based Musa, who is approaching his 60s, admitted that competing at the annual Asoju Oba Cup changed his life o better.
The former African and Commonwealth table tennis Champion – Atanda Musa described the tournament as a launching platform for his successful career as an athlete.
The New York-based Musa was full of appreciation to the late financier of the championship – Sir Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, describing him as a philanthropist with special passion for table tennis.
“My life will not complete without mentioning the vital role the Asoju Oba Cup played in my life and career. My 90 percent success in life was based on the support I got from Chief Okoya-Thomas when I was a level two coach with the Lagos State Sports Council while he was the chairman of the Council. Competing in the tournament from early 1980s really brought me into limelight in Nigeria and earned me a place in the national team. As the tournament usually takes place in December, it affords us the opportunity to win several gift items while my first car in life was through the tournament which I won after defeating Yomi Bankole in one of the finals,” Atanda Musa said.
Even as the family of the late business mogul in collaboration with Lagos State Sports Commission are planning elaborate 50th anniversary of the competition this month, Atanda Musa said that he would forever remain grateful to Chief Okoya-Thomas having contributed immensely to his success on and off the table. “I cannot quantify the contribution of Chief Okoya-Thomas to my life because it was through the competition that I gained more experience playing against the seniors while I became the first table tennis player to win a brand new Peugeot Saloon car by competing in the competition. I must also commend the family for keeping and upholding the legacy of Chief Okoya-Thomas by staging the tournament despite the demise of the initiator,” he added.