After the unsuccessful campaign by Africa’s flagbearer – 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 on March 1 to 3 in Nairobi.
The best 32 table tennis players in Africa will be fighting the two slots available for the 2018 ITTF World Cup.
16 women including defending champion – Egypt’s Dina Meshref will slug it out while Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri will battle 15 others in his bid to make another appearance at the prestigious World Cup scheduled to hold in France this year.
Also veterans like Nigeria’s duo of Olufunke Oshonaike and Segun Toriola as well as Egypt’s talented Ahmed Saleh will be rubbing shoulders with the young players at the three-day championship.
Africa’s highest ranked player – Egypt’s Omar Assar who recently had a not-too-impressive outing at the London tournament last week will be traveling from his Germany-based to Kenya.
Already, Omar Assar has said that he hopes to be at his best in Kenya.
“I was not feeling too fine after the first match against Japan at the ITTF Team World Cup in London. So I had to rest against England in order to recover on time for the Kenya tournament. I will be heading to Germany from London to put final touches to my training ahead of the competition. But I must admit that it promises to be tough and exciting in Kenya considering the quality of African players in recent time,” Omar Assar said.
15-year-old South African Musfiquh Kalam will also be debuting at the tournament after emerging the winner of the Southern African region tournament held in Botswana in January. The teenager said: “I feel overwhelming, excited and full of joy to qualify for the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup as a junior player. My target in Kenya is to make it to the quarterfinal stage,” Kalam said.
The 5000 capacity of Kasarani Gymnasium at the Moi International Sports Centre will host the tournament.