The waiting took several hours but at last it was known as Nigeria became the second team in the girls’ event to join Egypt as Africa’s representatives at the 2019 World Junior Championships (WJC) holding in Thailand.
In the first semifinal of the ongoing ITTF African Junior and Cadet Championships, Egypt overwhelmed Tunisia 3-0 to become the first female team to berth in the final and secure their place at the WJC.
But the second semifinal tie between Nigeria and Mauritius stretched for hours with both teams aiming for the remaining sole slot.
It was Sukukurat Aiyelabegan and Vivian Oku that saved the day for Nigeria after the Mauritius side took the driving seat with a 2-1 aggregate lead but Aiyelabegan restored parity for Nigeria against Nandeshwaree Jalim with the Nigerian winning at 3-2 to the match at 2-2.
It was the turn of Oku and she was set up against Oumehani Hosenally.
From the first game, it was as if the Mauritian teenager was in control but Oku returned in the second game to take charge and she dominated until she put the encounter beyond her opponent at 3-1 to give Nigeria a place at the WJC.
After the match, the Nigeria team went into wild jubilation with the coaches and players hugging themselves for the cherished victory.
Nigeria battles Egypt in the boys and girls final on Wednesday April 10.