Algiers is the host for the 2022 ITTF-Africa Senior Championships, a landmark event for the continent’s largest country in terms of geographical size; staged from Saturday 3rd to Friday 9th September, it is the first time Algeria has been the home.
At the helm of proceedings is Chérif Derkaoui, the Tournament Director, in particular, appreciative of the support received from the Ministry of Youth and Sports and ITTF Africa. He is determined that all 28 participating member associations will be warmly welcomed and will received excellent hospitality.
“The Algerian table tennis family is very happy to host the finals of the ITTF-Africa Senior Championships for the first time in Algeria, we are ready for this great African event. We warmly welcome everyone and promise you the best possible organisational and technical conditions, without forgetting that Algeria is a beautiful country full of beautiful landscapes and tradition. In addition, we will say to the 28 countries that have confirmed their participation you are welcome in Algeria, it is your second country.” Chérif Derkaoui
Notably, Egypt’s Omar Assar and Mariam Alhodaby defend their respective men’s singles and women’s singles titles. Both occupy the second seeded position; the top seeded spot is reserved by the player each beat in the final last September in Yaoundé.
For the men it is Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, for the women the name at the head of the order is Hana Goda, like Mariam Alhodaby from Egypt, the winner at the Africa Cup earlier this year in May when she became the youngest ever player to win a continental cup title.
Likewise, from Egypt, Dina Meshref, the women’s singles winner in both 2015 and 2018, is next in line to Mariam Alhodaby, Nigeria’s Fatimo Bello completes the top four names. Notably, Dina Meshref won in both 2015 and 2018.
Players to note and further down the women’s singles lists is one of the most familiar names in the annals of table tennis in Africa. Winner in 1992, 2002 and 2016, Nigeria’s Olufunke Oshonaike is the no.6 seed. Three times the women’s singles champion, the only player who can match the feat is Ghana’s Ethel Jacks, she succeeded in 1964, 1968 and 1974.
Vast experience, Olufunke Oshonaike is not the only 40 plus year old who is in search of a podium finish; Egypt’s Ahmed Ali Saleh is the men’s singles no.3 seed, followed by Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw. Similar to Olufunke Oshonaike, he has three singles title to his name; he succeeded in 200, 2007 and 2010. The only other player to win the men’s singles title three times is a certain Omar Assar, in addition to 2021 he succeeded in 2015 and 2016
A highly competitive field, now can the hosts respond? Algeria’s top male player Sami Kherouf is confident that his team’s preparations, coupled with previous continental achievements will inspire Algeria to upset the odds and gain podium places.
“Inshallah, we have a very good team and good players, do not forget that we created a surprise in 2019 during the African Games in Rabat by obtaining the gold medal in men’s doubles.” Sami Kherouf
Six days of intense competition await in La Coupole-Cité Olympique.