05 Apr 2019

A creditable fifth place last year at the African Youth Games, Nigeria’s Azeez Solanke won the junior boys’ singles title at the 2019 Ghana Junior and Cadet Open in Accra in Friday 5th April; however, he was not necessarily the player to attract the greatest level of attention.

Arguably that honour belonged to his colleague, Taiwo Mati, a player with no current world ranking, on the concluding day of action he was a busy young man, he competed in four finals.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

After accounting for colleague, Emmanuel Augustine (11-4, 11-8, 11-7, 12-10), he was beaten by Azeez Solanke in the junior boys’ singles final (13-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-6); in the counterpart semi-final Azeez Solanke had accounted for Saudi Arabia’s Khalid Alshareif (11-6, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 10-12, 11-7).

Silver for Taiwo Mati; in the junior boys’ doubles event, it was the same colour in partnership with Emmanuel Augustine, the duo experiencing a four games defeat at the hands of Azeez Solanke and Nigerian colleague Jamiu Ayanwale (8-11, 11-9, 13-11, 12-10).

Two finals, two defeats, in both the cadet boys’ singles and cadet boys’ doubles events, it was very different, two finals, two titles.

Two gold and two silver medals for Taiwo Mati on the concluding day (Photo: Mana Adarkwa)


Once again partnering Emmanuel Augustine, the pair secured the cadet boys’ doubles title overcoming India’s Arnav Manoj Karnavar and Manaik Nistala in the final (11-8, 6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-3), before Taiwo Mati returned to the table to reserve the top step of the cadet boys’ singles podium.

After earlier in the day overcoming Khalid Alshareif (5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-13, 11-5), he accounted for compatriot Jamiu Ayanwale (8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 12-10) to arrest the title; in the opposite half of the draw in the penultimate round, Jamiu Ayanwale had halted the progress of Arnav Manoj Karnavar (11-7, 8-11, 11-5, 11-13, 11-4).

Titles for Nigeria, on the concluding day of action there was also success for the host nation; Ibrahim Gado Nuhu won the mini-cadet boys’ singles event; at the final hurdle he beat Congo Democratic’s Naredi Bovoji Mutshu (11-5, 11-5, 13-11), a promising sign for future as Ghana seeks to recover past glories.

Ghana’s future, Ibrahim Gado Nuhu, the mini-cadet boys’ singles winner (Photo: Nana Adarkwa)


Play in the first ever ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament to be staged in Ghana concluded; attention now turns to the 2019 African Youth, Junior and Cadet Championships. Organised in the same venue, proceeding commence on Sunday 7th April.

World Junior Circuit 2019 Ghana Junior & Cadet Open Azeez Solanke Taiwo Mati

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