Nigeria put every foot forward against Egypt in the men’s final of the ITTF African Championships as the Segun Toriola-inspired team defeated the North African 3-1 to qualify for the 2019 ITTF World Team Cup in Tokyo, Japan.
However, the women’s team was unlucky as they fell 1-3 to the Egyptians in the final to concede the Tokyo slot to the Egyptians.
From the start of the men’s final, it was Aruna Quadri that boosted Nigeria’s confidence with a close 3-2 win over Ahmed Saleh.
But the Egyptians leveled the match with Mohammed El-Beiali beatin Bode Abiodun 3-0 to put the encounter at 1-1.
Old warlord and the captain of the Nigeria team turned the tide against the Egyptians with a crucial comeback against Khaled Assar. It was Assar that was dominating from the start but the experience of Toriola was handy as he rallied back to win the encounter at 3-2 to give Nigeria a 2-1 lead.
What Aruna Quadri started was completed as the ITTF Nigeria Open champion fought well against Egypt’s El-Beiali with a 3-2 win to qualify Nigeria to the World Team Cup.
A disappointed Ahmed Saleh told NationSport that it was a painful loss especially the loss by Assar to Toriola. “I am so disappointed that we could not retain our title because we had thought we could pick the third game against Toriola. I am not too happy but that is table tennis and we will come back to fight again,” Saleh said.