by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Renowned for his high skill level, Ahmed Ali Saleh enters proceedings in Nairobi in good form; for Egypt at the recent 2018 ITTF Team World Cup in London, it was not the best of fortunes. However, for Egypt but the man from the Zamalek club in Cairo did record win of note. In the third match of the group stage fixture against England, he beat Paul Drinkhall (11-4, 7-11, 6-11, 11-7, 11-6).
A testing challenge met in London, now with the likes of colleague, Omar Assar in addition to Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and 43 year old Segun Toriola on duty; more challenges await in Nairobi; nevertheless, Ahmed Ali Saleh is ready.
“I am going to Kenya for the first time to see whether I can win the tournament, also to compete at the World Cup. It is not going to be easy for any player in Kenya because Africa has come of age; no player can be underestimated in the tournament. Everybody going to Kenya has a target in mind; my greatest concern is the strength and experience of the Nigerian players. Quadri Aruna is a very strong player while Segun Toriola is very dangerous.
I know that even at 50 years of age, Segun Toriola would still be a dangerous player. He is very skilful and has a lot of experience. For me Quadri Aruna is a very strong player and has powerful strokes.
It is not only Nigerian players that are very strong, we cannot look down on Tunisia and Algeria because they now have some quality players that can cause upsets against top players. Going to Kenya is like heading to war and I am battle ready for what will happen in Nairobi.”