by Simon Daish
Egypt didn’t even have to hit a ball to get their first two Group A points on the scoreboard after Cameroon failed to make an appearance giving Egypt a three-nil walkover win.
However, Egypt’s second group fixture did take place against South Africa, who were also on two points following their three-nil triumph over Gabon in their opener.
El-Sayed Lashin gave Egypt the lead in the tie with South Africa winning in straight games against Kurt Lingeveldt, before Khalid Assar doubled his country’s advantage with a masterclass performance against Keegan Lingeveldt.
The match up between South Africa’s Terrence Mathole and Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali looked to have the potential to produce an end-to-end duel on the table, with the opening game being decided by the minimal two point margin. However, El-Beiali went from strength-to-strength as the tie progressed and before long his victory over Mathole was confirmed and a three-nil win for Egypt was secured.
While Egypt may be the reigning ITTF-Africa Senior Championships Men’s Team title holders, they lost out to Nigeria at the most recent rendition of the African Games in 2015 and one of the country’s top players Ahmed Ali Saleh is determined to put Egypt back on top:
“Our aim in this competition is to reclaim our title because we narrowly lost it to Nigeria at the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville. After that defeat, we have been working very hard to ensure we claim back the laurel because for years, we held the title in Africa” – Ahmed Saleh ( Egypt).