by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF-Africa Press Officer
Time and again the 30 year old has proved a most worthy competitor but making the stride to gain a place on the podium has proved a step too far.
At the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup in 2016 in Khartoum and last year in Nairobi he reached the quarter-finals; a position that was also his lot in 2017 in Agadir at the ITTF Africa Cup.
Qualifying for the main draw in Lagos is for Sami Kherouf, the goal; beyond the last eight is a bonus.
However, later in the month there is a much greater possibility of medal success in Rabat. Algeria is a major contender for honours in the men’s team event at the 2019 Africa Games; gold and silver might just prove a step too high with the likes of Egypt and Nigeria. However, bronze is more than a possibility; play starts in Rabat on Tuesday 20th August.
“We have been training together as team in Algiers with the aim of using the Africa Cup in Lagos as good preparation for the All African Games. To win the title in Lagos is super hard with the presence of the best African players like Omar Assar and Quadri Aruna. I must admit that to win the title will require a lot of work and at the moment it seems hard to win. It is hard because you have to compete with top players, who ply their trade in big leagues and who devote most of their time to the game as their main job.” Sami Kherouf
Nevertheless, Sami Kherouf is looking forward the tournament in Lagos.
“I have never visited the country before. I know it is country that loves sport and especially table tennis. I am aiming to win a bronze medal. I would love to become the first Algerian to qualify for the World Cup but it is very hard for everyone except Omar Assar and Aruna Quadri.” Sami Kherouf.
The ITTF Men’s World Cup will be staged in Chengdu from Friday 29th November to Sunday 1st December.