09 Apr 2018

Togo, competing in the Under 21 Men’s Team event has been the revelation of the 2018 African Junior and Cadet Championships in Abijdan, Côte d’Ivoire.

They completed the group stage of proceedings in first place in their respective group; it was one of the very few outcomes contrary to expectations.

Nathaniel Somuah, Côte d’Ivoire Table Tennis Federation

Notably the trio comprising Kossi Akakpo, Atarou Assou and Kodjo Baccoui recorded three-two win over South Africa’s Byrone Abrahams, Zakeer Moosa and Yukail Naidoo prior to enjoying the same margin of success when facing the Congo Democratic outfit comprising Josué Olenga, Abdelbasset Chaichi and Azzeddine Lazai.

Amah Amedee, the Togo National Coach explains the hard work that has been necessary to achiueve such good results.

“We really prepared well before coming for the tournament. Our players trained according to plan and are in good condition. Coming here, we set a target of reaching the semi-finals of the team event. Having qualified to the quarters, I think we have done really well looking at how tough our group was. All four teams in the group are very good and I must say we are happy to have made it out of the group”

“We studied our opponents as the game progressed. We decided to start the attack and win points early. We were mindful of the loops from our opponents and we blocked really well. The games we have played so far have not been easy as each player comes with a unique style.”

“We have a very important quarter finals against Cameroon and we are planning a very good strategy for the match. Cameroun is also a very good team with very good individual players. They were second to Egypt in their group and it is going to be a 50/50 game, but we are ready for a good showdown with them. But like I said we came to this tournament with the objective of reaching the semi-finals and we will do our possible best to meet our target.” Amah Amedee

Undoubtedly for Togolese star player Assou Atarou, this competition has been a very good one for them and one worthy of attendance.

“We have been thrilled by the level of play in this tournament. Each player has a different style and you really need to be fit to win a match. The rallies are long and contain different spins. It is very difficult to deal with the different styles of play here.”

“Personally for me, this tournament is an eye opener as I have come to learn a lot from the games I have played and also by watching the other players especially the Egyptians, Tunisians and Algerians. A good opportunity for me to learn new things to take into the future” Assou Atarou

“It is our hope that we will be able to find our rhythm against Cameroun and qualify to the semi-finals. We will take one game at a time and we believe in ourselves that we can qualify. The atmosphere here is good for us and we feel at home. No matter the results from the quarter-finals, there will be positive experience for us. Assou atarou

2018 African Junior & Cadet Championships Togo Kossi Akakpo

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