Fifteen African nations will converge in Lagos for the 2019 ITTF Africa Cup, which serves off on August 3 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Countries expected in Lagos for the three-day championship include Algeria, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Congo Brazzaville, Congo DRC, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia and host Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Dina Meshref of Egypt are the defending champions of the Men and Women’s Singles and are expected to battle against other players for their places in the 2019 ITTF World Cups.
In a bid to halt Aruna Quadri’s dominance, Algeria’s best male player, Sami Kherouf will be heading to Lagos with the hope to fulfil his dreams of becoming the first Algerian to conquer the continent.
Kherouf admitted that it will take an extra performance to rule the continent.
“At present, we are training together as a team in Algiers with the aim of using the Africa Cup in Lagos as a good preparation for the All African Games,” he said.
On the possibility of dethroning the defending champion Aruna Quadri, he said: “To win the title is super hard with the presence of the best African players like Omar Assar and Aruna Quadri as well as other good players too.
“I must admit that to win the title will require a lot of work and at the moment it seems hard to win. It is hard because you have to compete with top players, who ply their trade in big leagues and who devote most of their time to the game as their main job,” he added.
Sami Kherouf cannot wait to come to Nigeria. “I cannot wait to come to Nigeria because I have never visited the country before. I know it is country that loves sport and especially table tennis,” the Algerian number one star said.
In his modest ambition, Sami Kherouf said: “I am aiming to win a bronze medal and I would have loved to become the first Algerian to qualify for the World Cup but it is very hard for everyone except Omar Assar and Aruna Quadri.”