After an unsuccessful campaign by Africa’s flagbearers Egypt at the 2018 ITTF Team World Cup, the continent’s attention will shift to Kenya for this year’s ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup.
During the contest, the best 32 table tennis players across the continent will be fighting the two slots available for the ITTF World Cup.
Sixteen women, including Egypt’s best and defending champion Dina Meshref, will slug it out while Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri will battle 15 others in a bid to make another appearance at the prestigious World Cup scheduled to take place in France later this year.
Veterans like Nigeria’s duo of Olufunke Oshonaike and Segun Toriola as well as Egypt’s talented Ahmed Saleh will rub shoulders with the young players at the three-day championship.
Africa’s highest ranked player Omar Assar, who had a not-too-impressive outing at the London tournament last week, will also be travelling from Germany to Kenya.
“I had to rest after the first match against Japan at the ITTF Team World Cup that was held in London. I will be heading to Germany to put final touches on my training ahead of the competition. I must admit that it promises to be tough and exciting in Kenya considering the quality of African players in recent time,” said Assar.
Fifteen-year-old South African Musfiquh Kalam will also be debuting at the tournament after emerging the winner of the Southern Africa regional tournament held in Botswana in January.
“I am excited to qualify for the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup as a junior player and my target in Kenya is to make it to the quarter-finals,” said Kalam. The tournament will take place from March 1-3 at the Kasarani Indoor Gymnasium.