Nigeria and Egypt will fly Africa’s flag at the 2019 ITTF World Team Cup in Tokyo, Japan after emerging champion at the 2018 ITTF African Championships in Mauritius.
It was Egypt who first confirmed their spot in the global tournament after beating Nigeria’s women team 3-1 in
the final. But few hours later, the Nigerian team led by 2018 ITTF Nigeria Open Champion, Aruna Quadri dethroned Egypt as the new continental champion for men.
In the last three editions of the World Team Cup, Egypt men and women teams have featured in the tournament. The last time Nigeria’s men team competed was in 2010 in Dubai.
However, with the 3-1 win over Egypt in the final, the West African side will return to the global championship come November 2019 in Japan. The tournament is a test-run for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The trio of Dina Meshref, Farah Abdel-Aziz and Yousra Helmy defeated Nigeria’s Edem Offiong, Olufunke Oshonaike and Janet Effiom to retain their title in the continent.
2018 ITTF African Championships: Enthralling Men’s Final!
In the men’s final, it was a different scenario as the experience of Segun Toriola counted for the Nigerian team. The seven-time Olympian fought from 1-2 down to beat youthful Khaled Assar 3-2 in the third game. The comeback gave Nigeria a 2-1 lead after Aruna Quadri had gifted Nigeria the lead with a 3-2 win over Ahmed Saleh while Bode Abiodun fell 0-3 to Mohammed El-Beiali.
Like a true champion, it was Quadri who salvaged the day for Nigeria with an explosive encounter against El-Beiali. The tie made the spectators glued to their seat.
Having fell behind 1-2, Quadri fought back to beat the Arab Cup Champion 3-2, thus, throwing the venue into frenzy.
‘We Will Come Back To Fight Again’ – Egypt’s Saleh
A disappointed Saleh tells NationSport that it was a painful loss especially the loss by Assar to Toriola. “I am so disappointed that we could not retain our title. We had thought we could pick the third game against Toriola. I am not too happy. But that is table-tennis and we will come back to fight again,” Saleh assures.
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