by Simon Daish, interviews conducted by by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa, Press Officer
Competing in Group C of the Junior Boys’ Team tournament Congo Brazzaville had been kept apart from the top seed Egypt and the host nation Tunisia in the group stage draw, but there is something that all three countries share in common after each nation finished top of their respective groups.
Congo Brazzaville backed up its opening day victory over Algeria with a subsequent 3-0 triumph against Cote D’Ivoire as Regis Kiassi, Michel Lignandzi and Christian Deyangha saw off Franck Kouadio (11-3, 11-5, 11-1), Sihon Kone (11-5, 11-7, 11-4) and Andre Bly (11-5, 11-5, 12-10) before claiming a walkover win against Nigeria.
The Junior Girls’ Team trophy will be contested by Egypt and Tunisia after both countries moved through to the final.
Egypt was awarded a 3-0 victory over Nigeria in Group A and consequently went on to top the group, but for Tunisia an action packed day was to be expected in Group B.
The big challenge for the hosts came at the start of the day with a fixture against Algeria to be played out. Fadwa Garci, Manel Baklouti and Abir Haj Salah each picked up a victory to their names as Tunisia edged to a 3-2 triumph over Algeria, and a 3-0 success over Mauritius put the hosts through to the final.
“I think we have been playing well in the tournament to have made it to the final. We hope we can win the title against Egypt and we must also believe in ourselves that we can do it”, Abir Haj Salah.
Success for the hosts in the Junior Girls’ Team draw and Tunisian fans were treated to more positive results in the Under 21 Boys’ Team competition.
Finishing in first position in Group B Tunisia overcame opponents Congo Brazzaville with a convincing 3-0 victory, and after the match Omar Ammous spoke about his win against Christ Bienatiki (11-3, 11-7, 11-2) and the squad’s chances moving forward.
“Having lost to him last year in Algiers, I had to change my tactics. I knew that he was going to be aggressive so I calmed the game for him. I think avenging my defeat this year will give us the needed confidence in our next match. For me it is a good win and it will help my confidence in the competition”, Omar Ammous.
Tuesday 11th April will see the team events draw to a close, with plenty of silverware up for grabs.