July 13, 2024

Players, officials and key stakeholders excited about Pan African Scrabble Association Awards and Recognitions

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…Recognitions and awards will motivate players – PANASA President Adekoyejo Adegbesan

By Mishael Emmanuel and Maxwell Kumoye

Players, officials and key stakeholders across the continent are excited with the new 2023 Pan African Scrabble Association (PANASA), Awards and Recognitions bestowed on 17 top wordsmith who distinguished themselves last year in the Scrabble Circuit with their sterling and captiviting performances.

The PANASA Awards and Recognitions conferred on the players are in three categories. Grand Masters, Expert and Most Rated Games.

The continent’s voice of total acceptance and approval is echoed in the words of the President of Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF) Engineer Toke Aka, “Scrabble Africa is alive and awards and recognitions like what Pan African Scrabble Association is giving out to deserving players is what the sport needs and it will spur the players to strive for excellence.”

Aka, an Executive Committee Member of the World English Scrabble Players Association (WESPA), says Africa has come of age in the game of words and the continent is ready to set the standard for others to emulate.

Six Nigerians and a Kenyan player were honoured with the prestigious recognition as Grand Masters.

The winner of the second edition of the West African Scrabble Championship (WASC), a 500-level pharmacy student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Oluwatimilehin Doko is among the exceptional players that were bestowed with the prestigious Grand Masters status.

Prince Osahon Omosefe, a player with multiple National titles, three African Scrabble Championship podium finishes is very elated with his new status. He stated, “it a mark of honour to be so appreciated by the governing body of scrabble PANASA.”

Omosefe, one of the new Scrabble Grand Masters first major national championship outing was in April 2003 in Akure and since then, the Edo State born scrabble heavyweight has won numerous events and his recently finished fifth at the North America Scrabble Players Association Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

“This award and recognitions by the continental scrabble body will go a long way in encouraging the players giving them something to look forward too during the scrabble circuit.“ Prince Osahon Omosefe stated.

Allan Oyende of Kenya is the other player that received the Grand Masters title. Oyende recently won the Scrabble On The Nile Championship in Uganda.

These are the new seven Grand Masters:

★ Oluwatimilehin Doko – Nig (GM)
★ Prince Osahon Omosefe – Nig (GM)
★ Eta Paul Karo – Nig (GM)
★ John Aiyedun – Nig (GM)
★ Adeyemi Adeosun – Nig (GM)
★ Godwin Victor – Nig (GM)
★ Allan Oyende – Ken (GM)

Again Nigerian wordsmiths dominated the Expert badge category, with five of them in the fold. Cyril Umebiye who won the 2023 South West Closed Scrabble Championship in Abeokuta is one of the five Nigerians to receive the Expert badge.

The other players with the Expert badge who are Nigerians are captain of Team Nigeria to the 2023 West African Scrabble Championship (WASC), in Lagos, Ben Quickpen, National Sports Festival gold medalist Abdulmumin Jimoh, Emmanuel Umujose and Oshevire Avwenagha winner of the maiden edition of Governor Douye Diri National Championship.

To get the gold plated Expert badge a player most have played 90 or more PANASA rated games in the year under review and most maintain an average rating between 2000 – 2099 rating points in the year under review.

Two Kenyans, Dr. Michael Gongolo and Gitonga Nderitua, Uganda’s Dr. Edgar Odongkara and Ghanaian Charles Haizel Tachie-Menson who came 8th at the last World English Scrabble Players Association Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA completes the lineup.

All tournament directors across the continent have been mandated by the continental governing body of the game of words to insert the appellation EXP beside their names on any tournament file. PANASA will replicate the same gesture.

In addition to a Gold plated EXP badge that will be presented to the recipients, a PANASA customized merchandise hoodie will be given to all winners while an official presentation of certificates will be done at the PANASA’s 30th anniversary ceremony in Freetown.


* Ben Quickpen – Nig (EXP)
* Emmanuel Umujose – Nig (EXP)
* Oshevire Avwenagha – Nig (EXP)
* Cyril Umebiye – Nig (EXP)
* Abdulmumin Jimoh – Nig (EXP)
* Charles Tachie Menson – Gha (EXP)
* Dr. Michael Gongolo – Ken (EXP)
* Dr Edgar Odongkara – Uga (EXP)
* Gitonga Nderitu – Ken (EXP)

Alvin Roberts from Liberia who played a total 221 PANASA rated games in the year under review was awarded the Most Rated title. Alvin Roberts goes away with a customized PANASA Pro Scrabble set, a PANASA merchandise Hoodie and Paid up registration into the next Africa Scrabble Championship (ASC) to be hosted by Sierra Leone in 2024 if he qualifies.

The PANASA Technical Director, Kenya’s Chrispine Okeyo, says the CC, GM, EXP appellation added to players names announced by PANASA takes effect immediately.


Adekoyejo Adegbesan :

“As you will recall, the Pan African Scrabble Association commenced the Africa Rating System shortly after I was elected President. To ensure our rating system is as desirable as WESPA and to get players aspiring for greater heights, we introduced the badge system which accords deserving players honour for their performance in any particular year. This is why we are excited to actually see this in action and to see how it has been received across the continent. The award of the first Expert (EXP) and Grand Master (GM) badges is indeed a milestone for us here at PANASA. You will also recall that we awarded the Continental Champion (CC) badges to the previous and current African Champion at the Presidents Cup, that remains the highest honour attainable by a Scrabble player on the continent”

“As we clock 30 in 2024, it was also important to recognize those who birthed PANASA and others who nurtured it. For those people, 28 in total, we will be inducting into the African Scrabble Hall of Fame. I will soon be presenting to the Executive Committee for approval, benefits of holding such an honour. I am hoping we can grant them all Honorary Membership which allows them to attend all Executive meetings and participate in the discussions albeit without a right to vote. This is covered under Article 28 of our constitution. This is one of many rewards that we are looking to make available to them”

Bernard Koyyoko – Kenya :

“Certainly a great Idea from Adegbesan and team. Soon we will have wagers here on attainment of some of these Accolades. Congrats to East African Awardees whom I get to compete against often, some spice is now added to beating them in any setting.”

Engr. Stanley Efetoboh Ubiedi – Ghana :

“I think the idea is novel.”

Kondia Wachira – Kenya :

“Big congratulations to all the winners of this year’s PANASA prestigious awards. Great initiative by our able President and Exco. More wins for Africa.”

Richard Geria – Uganda :

“Congratulations to awardees. Congratulations Adegbesan for energizing scrabble in Africa. Now there is more to aspire to.”

Bright Idahosa – Nigeria :

“Congratulations to all the awardees. Bravo to PANASA secretariat for this novelty.”

Emerald Mutahi – Kenya :

“Congratulations to all the winners and pioneers in the African Scrabble Hall of Fame. Well deserved.”

PANASA Publicity Secretary, Tayo Ogunseye – Nigeria :

“Congratulations to all honoured winners!”

Joseph Avery – Liberia :
“Congratulations to all of the awardees, African Scrabble is on the rise”

Duncan – South Africa Scrabble Association :

“Toke Aka, Adegbesan in particular, amongst others, I salute you Sirs”

James Lynch Monbo Sr – Liberia :

“Congratulations Alvin, Liberia is proud of you and thanks to our brothers for being hospitable to you.”

It’s noteworthy to state that since the inception of the Africa Rating System, which is the yard stick for the Awards and Recognitions, rating an event with PANASA came at no cost to event organizers across the continent. Many took advantage of this and ensured their tournaments were rated, especially those that met the continental body’s rating criteria.

With effect from January 1, 2024, rating with PANASA will attract a flat $20 ratings fee.

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