By James Agberebi:
Nigeria Table Tennis team will be vying for honours at the 2016 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) African Senior Championships holding in Agadir, Morocco.
According to a release by ITTF- Africa Media on Tuesday, the championship which runs from October 24 to October 30 will serve as qualification for the World Team Cup and the ITTF World Table Tennis Championship both in 2017 and the 2018 ITTF World Table Tennis Championship.
Aside from Nigeria and hosts Morocco, other countries expected to participate at the African Championship are Egypt, Congo Brazzaville, Algeria, Ghana.
The President of African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy said: “The tournament is the qualification for the 2017 ITTF World Team Cup, which will take place in the 1st quarter of 2017.
"Then also this African Championship is the prerequisite event for all African teams to take part in the 2017 ITTF World Table Championship for individual events plus 2018 ITTF World TTC for team events which means no countries from Africa will be part of the two world tournaments without taking part in the championship in Agadir – Morocco.”
El-Salhy went on to reaffirm the readiness of the host nation for the table tennis fiesta.
“All preparations and arrangements for the competition seem to be working well with the main hotel already secured as well as the venue and I hope it will be a successful event,” he said.
On his expectations for the championship, the ATTF boss added: “It will be a tough competition between the top countries especially Egypt and Nigeria. Egypt is aiming to retain the titles for both team events while Nigeria is looking to use the performance of Aruna Quadri in previous tournaments at world levels to secure the sole slot for the 2017 World Team Cup.”
“There is no doubt that the traditional forces are going to dazzle and I am expecting the promoted countries to prove themselves (i.e. Ghana whom made a big surprise a the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville by getting a bronze medal), and I see also that Congo Brazzaville, Algeria and Tunisia will be teams to watch out in terms of making it to the podium in Morocco.”