Interview: Djiboutian Teqball Federation
INSIDE TEQBALL- STORIES FROM THE TEQBALL WORLD-
Madina Said is leading the growth of teqball in the Republic of Djibouti. As President of the Djiboutian Teqball Federation, which was established in 2019, he has adopted a community-based approach to the sport’s development. After making its debut at the 2019 World Championships, Said hopes the Djiboutian team can continue making progress in the years ahead, which he discusses in this interview.
Why did you decide to create a federation?
The Minister of Youth Affairs and Sport and the President of the Djiboutian National Olympic Committee saw teqball for the first time during the African Championship in Morocco. It fascinated them and they decided to create a National Teqnall Federation in the Republic of Djibouti and I had the honour of being elected as the President.
What led you to start your activity with teqball?
The reasons which led us to start this activity with teqball are that it was an exciting new sport, which is fascinating and lots of fun, and because it can be played regardless of age or gender.
You have made a lot of progress in recent years and are one of the most developed federations in Africa. Can you provide us with information about the number of clubs and athletes you have?
The Djiboutian Teqball Federation was set up in early November 2019 with two teqball tables and since that date, we have had ten players and 3 to 4 clubs. This is just the start and we hope to have many more people involved in the future.
Do you remember the first time you experienced the curved table? Can you tell us what your thoughts were? Why do you think this sport is addictive?
Yes, the first time I saw a table was in October 2019. At first, we thought it was a strange table tennis table but after having played several times with professional football players, I knew that this sport was addictive!
Beyond your daily tasks within your federation, how much time do you have to play teqball?
We manage to play about twice a week!
Did you participate in the 2019 Teqball World Championships in Budapest with a team? What were your impressions about the fact that your players had the chance to learn from the best players in the sport?
Yes, we had the opportunity to participate in the 2019 Teqball World Championships with a team. It was a great moment, especially as also were able to see top players in action and also to meet former football stars like Ronaldinho, William Gallas and Carles Puyol.
What is your best memory of teqball?
My best memory so far is the 2019 Teqball World Championships, where we had the opportunity to participate in a Teqball World Championships for the first time. This was a historic moment and we hope it is the first of many World Championships that we can compete in.
What are the development plans of your federation for this year?
The biggest development priority is to obtain 56 Teq tables and give one or two tables to all community development centres, as well as the five regions. Community development centres are the places where young people have fun during their free time. We hope that the majority of young and old can discover and practice teqball full time. We are also looking at coach, referee and athlete education course, which will help improve the foundations for teqball’s success in the country.
Are you planning to organise international events shortly?
We would love to do this at some stage in the future, but it also depends on the circumstances. Our main priorities for now are developing the sport in our country and get as many people playing as possible.
How have you managed the crisis linked to the current COVID-19 pandemic within your Federation? Are the athletes, team coaches affected?
After the first COVID-19 case in our territory, our country’s President and the government decided to put the Republic under lockdown until 24 April. We are all looking forward to the resumption of sports activities, which is scheduled for 1 July 2020. Luckily, so far none of our leaders, athletes, coaches and teams have contracted COVID-19.
If you could choose a sports legend to become a teqball ambassador, who would you choose?
I would choose William Gallas!
Thank you for the interview and good luck with all your endeavours with teqball!