This year’s ITTF Africa Cup for top table tennis players from all across the contiennt will serve-off this Saturday at Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, wityh players from 15 dirrent countries expected to compete.
Among countries expected to present players for the three-day contest are Algeria, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Congo Brazzaville, DR Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia and the host nation, Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Dina Meshref of Egypt are male and female defending champions respectively, but they will face stiff challenges from other quality ping-pong players in the search for tickets to the 2019 ITTF World Cups.
Among the male challengers to watch out for is Algeria’s men’s number one, Sami Kherouf, who said he wants to fulfil his dreams of becoming the first from his country to conquer the continent, but admitted that it will take an extra performance to beat Quadri and others.
Kherouf said: “To win the title is super hard with the presence of the best African players like Omar Assar and Aruna Quadri.
“(With the presence of) other good players too, I must admit to win the title will require a lot of work and at the moment it seems hard to win.
“It is hard because you have to compete with top players, who ply their trade in big leagues and who devote most of their time to the game.
“We are training together as a team in Algiers with the aim of using the Africa Cup in Lagos as a good preparation for the All Africa Games.
“I am aiming to win a bronze medal and I would have loved to become the first Algerian to qualify for the World Cup but it is very hard for everyone except Omar Assar and Aruna Quadri.”