Friends will become foes in a sporting sense as defending champion, Aruna Quadri of Nigeria battles it out in the semi-final against his friend, Omar Assar of Egypt on Monday afternoon at the Indoor Sports Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium venue of the 2019 ITTF Africa Cup.
In the second semi-final of the day Egyptian veteran Ahmed Saleh would aim to make it to the final as he confronts Algeria’s Sami Kherouf in men’s singles event .
Women’s defending champion, Dina Meshref of Egypt, would aim to defend the title she won last year when she faces a familiar foe in Nigeria’s Edem Offiong in the semifinal while tournament’s surprise package, Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci will take on Egypt’s Yousra Helmy.
The quarter-final matches were a spectacle as the players treated fans to world class table tennis action both in the men and women’s singles event.
Nigeria and Africa’s top seed Quadri survived a scare to overcome Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw 4-3 while Assar avoided another defeat against Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo as the Egyptian star avenged his 2-3 loss in the Club Championship with a convincing 4-2 win.
Saleh was made to work hard for his victory against Nigeria’s Bode Abiodun with a 4-2 win. Kherouf was at his best as he humbled Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu 4-2.
To Diaw, his quarter-final loss to Quadri was painful as he admitted that he had learnt his lessons from the encounter. “I think next time when we meet I will know how to finish up. I am happy with my performance and I am looking forward to the Nigeria Open,” the Denmark-based Senegalese star said.
Quadri on the other hand said: “I am very happy about tonight’s game. It was a relief to win playing against such a very strong opponent like him; it was a narrow escape for me. I must commend Omotayo Jide for a very good game against Omar Assar. Omotayo is indeed another big star in Africa. I want everyone to come tomorrow. The fans’ support was a huge catalyst for my victory today, as always.”