by Simon Daish, interviews conducted by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Press Officer
Tunisia got off to a flying start in the Junior Girls’ Team event after the hosts emerged victorious in their opening match of the competition against Congo Brazzaville.
Fadwa Garci gave Tunisia the lead in the Group B encounter following her straight games triumph against Fransnelle Miandengue (11-6, 11-5, 11-5), and subsequent successes from Abir Haj Salah and Manel Baklouti over Beria Francelle Gamago (11-4, 11-3, 11-2) and Gad Ibouendo (11-5, 11-4, 11-6) sealed a 3-0 win for the hosts.
The other tie in Group B saw Algeria join the host nation on two points as Hiba Feredj’s helped lead the Algerians to a 3-1 victory over Mauritus.
“For me the match was a bit easy but I noticed that my teammates struggled in their matches. I think the match was a bit hard for us because the Mauritius players have improved. They are more consistent now and they attack more. Hopefully, we can make win silver and probably gold medal and that is our aim as a team”, Hiba Feredj.
Egypt faced little trouble in their opening Junior Girls’ Team match against South Africa and Sara Abousetta expressed her delight in being given the chance to participate for her country at the tournament as she contributed a fourth game success against Lekeasha Johnson (11-4, 11-13, 11-3, 11-9).
“This is my first and probably my last African Junior and Cadet Championships. I am proud to represent Egypt as I am also very excited and honoured to wear the colour of my country”, Sara Abousetta.
Congo Brazzaville has gained two points from its tie against Algeria after the team of Michel Lignandzi, Regis Kiassi and Christian Deyangha ended up on the correct side of a 3-1 result and there appears to be an air of confidence surrounding the squad.
“The match against the Algeria was a bit hard for us because every country in Africa has improved a lot. Most teams in this competition are playing good and this for us means that we must work hard to beat any team in this competition. We hope we can maintain our status as one of the favourite teams for the title”, Regis Kiassi.
Over in the Cadet Girls’ Team draw there was a positive outcome for Tunisia with Fadwa Garci and Manel Baklouti proving too much for Congo Brazzaville to handle, while Algeria picked up a victory over Mauritius in the Cadet Boys’ Team event.
Defeat for Congo Brazzaville in the Cadet Girls’ Team tournament, but the nation did enjoy a moment of celebration in the Under 21 Boys’ Team competition as Christ Bienatiki, Michel Lignandzi and Christian Deyangha overcame Libya’s Abdulrahman Alsaqar (11-6, 11-6, 11-6), Jad Hariz (11-8, 11-5, 11-4) and Musab Twair (11-3, 11-8, 11-6).