Expectations high for ITTF African Championships

ATTF President, Khaled El-Salhy presents the 2015 trophy to Egypt's Dina Meshref in Yaounde, Cameroon. All eyes will be on the 2016 edition in Agadir, Morocco later this month.

After months of inactivity since the February 2016 final qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament in Sudan, top class action returns to Africa as teams and players battle for medals, honours and cash reward at the 2016 ITTF African Senior Championships holding in Agadir, Morocco.

From October 24 to 30, countries across Africa will converge in Agadir, which is a major city in Morocco, located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean near the foot of the Atlas Mountains for the seven-day championship.

According to the President of African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, the tournament serves as qualification for the 2017 World Team Cup. Enbeath Complex will host the championship with eight events in singles, teams and doubles to be battled for in Morocco.

As usual, the tournament is expected to re-ignite the rivalry between the continent powerhouses – Nigeria and Egypt while Congo Brazzaville is also another title contender.

“The tournament is the qualification for 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 (Germany) 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 said.

With over 15 countries expected at the championship which will also host the Annual General Congress of the continental body and the ATTF boss reaffirmed the readiness of the host nation for the table tennis fiesta.

“All preparation and arrangement for the competition seems 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 helmsman added: “It will be a tough competition between the top countries specially 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,” El-Salhy added.

Apart from competing in Agadir, the city will afford the players and teams to have a feel of some of the most beautiful beaches in Morocco that are located to the north of Agadir. These are areas also known for excellent surfing.