A four-man strong Nigeria team has been confirmed by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) for next month’s ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup holding in Nairobi, Kenya.
Men’s singles defending champion – Aruna Quadri tops the list of confirmed Nigeria players as well as seven-time Olympian, Segun Toriola will be campaigning in the men’s singles.
For the women’s singles, Olufunke Oshonaike and Edem Offiong will fly Nigeria’s flag in the event. Also like Nigeria, the world body has confirmed the Egyptian team for the three-day tournament.
Africa’s highest ranked player who just joined Borussia Dusseldorf in the German Bundesliga, Omar Assar will lead the North African side to the championship. He will be joined in the men’s singles by veteran Ahmed Saleh.
Women’s singles defending champion – Dina Meshref – will be joined by Farah Abdel-Aziz in the event.
Apart from Nigeria and Egypt which have four-man team, others like Tunisia, Morocco, Congo Brazzaville, South Africa, Ghana, Mauritius, Botswana, Cameroon, Congo DRC and host – Kenya have either one of two players representing them in the championship.
According to ITTF, the players confirmed were selected based on their continental ranking while the tournament serves as the continental qualifier for the 2018 ITTF World Cups. The winners in the men and women singles will represent Africa at the ITTF World Cup later in the year.
Already, the host has started excessive media campaigns for the championships across Kenya to attract fans to the venue.
The KTTA boss, Andrew Mudibo, said the media campaigns were part of the activities lined up for the championships. “The main aim of the media launch was to unveil the players and at the same time create awareness amongst the media houses here in Kenya so that they can start reporting and taking an interest in the tournament. We expect by the time the tournament is held, we shall be having very good publicity for the players who are coming and also the event,” Mudibo said.
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) headed by Joseph Okello has been working tirelessly to stage a befitting tournament. “The ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup is a special event in the hearts and minds of the continental table tennis community. It is a real privilege to evoke the memory of the greatest players and adventurers of that period by hosting the continent’s most challenging historic men’s and women’s Cup which holds the key to the World Cup slots for the continent,” Joseph Okello said.