by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
It is a fact of which Egypt’s Ahmed Ali Saleh, who in the opening match of the fixture had lost to Quadri Aruna (11-9, 9-11, 11-3, 9-11, 11-2), was acutely aware when, one day later, he reflected on the contest.
Ahmed Ali Saleh explained:
“The fact that Toriola is old is just talk because he is still playing well and with great experience which cannot be underestimated. He is always a dangerous player in the team event and he knows how to change things for Nigeria. He did that at the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville when he beat Omar Assar to help Nigeria claim gold in the Men’s Team event. Again, he showed his quality in Mauritius against Khalid; his win really affected our plans in the final.
Initially, in our plan we thought that Quadri Aruna would win his two matches but we would win the other three. After Mohamed El-Beiali beat Bode Abiodun, we thought that Khaled Assar will beat Toriola but it was not so, the veteran turned things around.
I am not happy at all because we have lost our title and I must say that if Omar Assar has been part of this team, it would have been a great advantage for us but not necessarily a certain victory.”
Nigeria now qualifies for the 2019 World Team Cup to be staged in Tokyo.