13 Apr 2018

Egypt dominated matters in the team events at the 2018 African Junior and Cadet Championships in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; when play concluded on Tuesday 10th April, they were the owners of all available titles.

However, as the medals were decided, the contest to attract the attention was the third placed engagement in the Cadet Boys’ Team event between Algeria and Congo Democratic; one which witnessed a quite remarkable recovery.

by Nathaniel Somuah, Ghana Table Tennis Association

Algeria made the ideal start. Abderrahmane Azzala beat Exauce Ngefuassa (7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-3); Meziane Belabbas doubled the lead by overcoming Christian Mbongia (11-8, 2-11, 11-8, 13-11).

It was at stage the Congo Democratic recovery began. The doubles was secured (12-10, 13-11, 8-11, 11-5), Christian Mbongia overcame Abderrahmane Azzala (11-5, 11-9, 13-11) before Exauce Ngefuassa defeated Meziane Belabbas (11-8, 11-5, 11-5) to complete a dramatic recovery.

“I am very happy and satisfied with our performance tonight. It is a nice feeling being two games down and coming back to win. It is a very nice feeling. We fought so hard to reverse the score; it is really unbelievable.. In the first two singles, we waited for the Algerians to attack and we followed up with counter attacks or blocks; that was not working. Our coach advised us to initiate the attacks instead of waiting for them. That really helped us and changed the game for us.” Christian Mbongia

It is for the Congo Democratic players all part of a learning experience; it would seem they are learning quickly.

“I am happy to have played in this tournament. I have come to learn, to win a game you have to focus and concentrate on every point. I have learned to play long rallies and manage the pressure of playing long rallies. My next move is to play in the Senior Championships in Mauritius this year.” Christian Mbongia

Undoubtedly, there is a good team spirit in the team; that evident by the spirited recovery.

“I am very happy with this win. We motivated ourselves and told ourselves that everything is possible. The atmosphere was unbelievable. The fans played a very big part of this win. They were behind us and that gave us more energy to perform. Coming here, I’ve gained so much experience. I’ve learned how to put so much energy into each game when playing. I want to be African Champion one day” Exauce Ngefuassa

Motivated, the individual events now await.

2018 African Junior & Cadet Championships Christian Mbongia Exauce Ngefuassa

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