By Neha Aggarwal
Round three clash
The final round of the group stage in both Men’s and Women’s team event will be played in the morning session on day two. In the Men’s side, top teams from each of the four groups: Egypt, Nigeria, Congo Brazzaville and Togo are expected to cruise past their respective opponents to finish number one in their groups. However, there will be some tense moments for the remaining two teams who are all tied up at 3 points each. In group A, if Egypt beats Gabon, South Africa will qualify for the knock out stage as it should receive a walk over from Cameroon as they are unable to make it to the tournament due to visa issues.
In group B Nigeria and Tunisia are expected to progress to the knock out stage as well and in group C, Congo Brazzaville leads with Algeria and Morocco fighting for the second spot. In group D, Togo, Sierra Leone and Senegal will be fighting for top two places.
The Women’s section in group A, Egypt should gracefully finish number one in its group. The battle really is between Congo Brazzaville and Tunisia who are tied at 3 points each. Both the teams will play at 10:00 on table 6 to determine the second spot for the knock out stage.
Similarly in Group B, the match between Algeria and South Africa will decide the first and the second places as they are both tied up with 4 points each. They will play at 10:00 as well on table number 3 to decide the final outcome.
From 3:00 pm onwards to day two, action will heat up as the semi finals for Women’s team event will commence. Post that at 4:30 pm, the quarter finals for the Men’s team event will take place on 4 tables.
In the Women’s team event, all positions except for the final one and two will determined by the end of the day. On the other hand, the Men’s team event will be played from quarter finals onwards up to the semi finals, the final placed to be determined on day three.
The big rivals in the continent are Africa and Nigeria in the Men’s section. Egypt’s Saleh Ahmed after this match against South Africa shared his aims for the tournament:
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 this defeat, we have been working very hard to ensure we claim back the laurel because for years, we held the title in Africa. Again, I must admit that the presence of Segun Toriola in the Nigerian team will make it very harder for us because Toriola is a very dangerous player with a lot of experience. Even without Bode Abiodun in the Nigerian team, the fact that Toriola is in the team makes harder for us again. But having seen Mohammed El-Beiali beating Quadri Aruna in the Arab Club Championship, we are confidence that we can do it again.
Will Egypt and Nigeria clash int he finals of the ITTF Africa Championship? Find out tomorrow!
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