by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
He is a wounded lion; he is at his most dangerous.
“I do believe that Egypt is the strongest country in Africa and I trust my teammates and coaches that they can show that in Morocco”, said Omar Assar, when speaking to Olalekan Okusan, Press Officer for the African Table Tennis Federation.
“I am looking forward to a classic final between Egypt and Nigeria and this kind of match has always been fun to play and for spectators to watch”, added Omar Assar. “I can also see that Tunisia now has a better team.”
Fierce competition but Omar Assar is clearly ready.
“I have been preparing very well for this event and I am looking forward to a great performance”, he explained. “I had two weeks of physical, mental and technical preparation in Germany where I had my last training camp so I can say I am looking forward to a good performance in Morocco.”
Furthermore, he is ready for the biggest challenge.
“Well, I must acknowledge that Quadri Aruna has been playing at a good level in the French League and international events so it will be interesting to see our match in Morocco especially in the Men’s Singles event”, added Omar Assar. “I am very keen to give a good performance because when it comes to representing Egypt, you always look for gold medal not only in Africa but everywhere else.”
Equally, following the excellent display of Dina Meshref at the Seamaster 2016 Women’s World Cup, Omar Assar is hopeful that the Egyptian female team will succeed in Morocco.
“Our women team is very strong and stable however some injuries can affect the team but as I see that there are some new young stars that are coming up now and they are fresh and hungry to win”, stressed Omar Assar. “Also Dina Meshref has been playing at a high level and has demonstrated that she is one of the best African female players of all time.”
Positive and in addition, Omar Assar is positive about the progress being made in Afria.
“Table tennis in Africa has taken a different shape since the President of African Table Tennis Federation; Khaled El-Salhy took charge as his efforts to promote the sport have paid off”, concluded Omar Assar. “I am very happy that I can see itTV is covering the African events almost everywhere but we are waiting for much more and expecting more promotion locally, particularly in Egypt.”
Additionally Omar Assar believes having an African team to compete against the world’s best would be interesting.
“I would love to see a formation of Team Africa that will compete against teams from Europe and Asia from time to time.”
An interesting thought; Team Africa versus Team Latin America, now that would be interesting! Marketing men, get to work!