by Olalekan Okusan, ITTF Africa Press Officer
An accountant by profession, Lotfi Guerfel is of the clear view that the staging the two tournaments has provided valuable experience for future international events; notably in March, Tunis hosts an ITTF World Junior Circuit tournament.
“It has been a very good experience because we have not organised senior sporting events for many years. The last time we hosted the Africa Cup in Tunisia was in 1992; we look forward to organising the Senior African Championship in the near future.
We have watched the European Cup and other tournaments; the challenge for us is to have similar tournaments in Africa in terms of upgraded hosting plans and executing the plans for such big events in Africa.
Of course we learn from our mistakes; that is very important as we will host a World Junior Circuit event in March this year. It will be the first time we’ll have over 208 players participating. For next year, we hope we can stage the World Junior Championships.
I can confirm to you that the tournaments were very good for promotion and attracting sponsors. They have also afforded the young players the opportunity to watch top-level matches by top African players like Quadri Aruna, Omar Assar and Dina Meshref as well as other stars.
There has been a big change in sports administration in Tunisia, particularly with the sports minister pushing for us to host major events. There has been big support in organising events, particularly in the area of facilities as well visa on arrival for participants.
The tournaments have been played at a very high level, which gave all the players equal chances. African players, especially those playing in European leagues, have really made big progress in the game.” Lotfi Guerfel