13 Jul 2017

Present at the recently concluded 2017 ITTF Africa Cup, Algeria’s Sami Kherouf and Tunisia’s Safa Saidani won the respective Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles titles at the immediately ensuing North African Championships.

Likewise staged in the Moroccan city of Agadir, the two day tournament concluded on Wednesday 5th July.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

First place in the initial stage group achieved in style, Sami Kherouf, who had finished in a highly creditable fifth place in the ITTF African Cup, notably stretching Egypt’s Mohamed El-Beiali the full seven games distance at the quarter-final stage, was in no mood for charity.

At the semi-final stage he accounted for Tunisia’s Thameur Mamia in four games (11-9, 11-1, 11-6, 3-11, 11-9), before in the final recording the same margin of victory in opposition to colleague Nai, Karali (11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9). In the counterpart semi-final, Naim Karali had accounted for Morocco’s Saad Zine El Abdine (11-8, 11-9, 11-8, 11-6).

An impressive performance from Sami Kherouf, it was the same from Safa Saidani in a competition where there was an air of revenge.

In the first round at the ITTF African Cup, she had been beaten by Algeria’s Katia Kessaci; in the group phase of proceedings at the North African Championships she turned the tables. She beat Katia Kessaci in three straight (11-6, 11-7, 11-9), remaining unbeaten to top the group.

Undoubtedly a confidence boosting win; she overcame the host nation’s Ines Outolla in the penultimate round (11-5, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 11-2), before securing the title at the expense of Algeria’s Islem Laid (5-11, 2-11, 11-5, 11-7, 11-9, 11-8). Notably, Islem Laid was a player in form; in the counterpart semi-final, she had beaten Katia Kessaci in straight games (11-6, 11-5, 11-3, 11-8), second position in the group having secured the Algerian a last four place.

The tournament was a qualification event for the 2018 ITTF Africa Cup to be held in Nairobi next March; the results will be included in the ITTF-Africa Ranking system.

Safa Saidani, success in Agadir (Photo: courtesy of Royal Moroccan Table Tennis Federation)


North African Championships: Results – Men’s Singles Event (Tuesday 4th – Wednesday 5th July)

North African Championships: Results – Women’s Singles Event (Tuesday 4th – Wednesday 5th July)

General News Sami Kherouf Safa Saidani