Friends will become foes – in a sporting sense, that is – at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos Nigeria as defending champion, Aruna Quadri of Nigeria slugs it out in the semifinal against his friend, Egypt’s Omar Assar on Monday, August 5, at the 2019 ITTF Africa Cup.
Also, Egyptian veteran Ahmed Saleh would aim to make it to the final as he confronts Algeria’s Sami Kherouf in the second semifinal clash of the men’s event.
Women’s defending champion, Dina Meshref of Egypt, would aim to fulfil her dream of holding on to the title when she faces a familiar foe in Nigeria’s Edem Offiong in the semifinal while tournament’s surprise package, Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci, will take on Egypt’s Yousra Helmy.
The quarterfinal matches produced exhilarating moments for fans as they were treated to the best of table tennis. Quadri gave it his all to overcome Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw 4-3 while Assar avoided another defeat against Nigeria’s Olajide Omotayo as the Egyptian star avenged his 2-3 loss in the Club Championship with a convincing 4-2 win.
Saleh was made to work hard for his victory against Nigeria’s Bode Abiodun with a 4-2 win. Kherouf was at his best as he humbled Congo Brazzaville’s Saheed Idowu 4-2.
To Diaw, the loss to Quadri was painful even as he had learnt his lessons from the encounter. “I think next time when we meet I will know how to finish up. I am happy with my performance and I am looking forward to the Nigeria Open,” the Denmark-based Senegalese star said.
A relieved Quadri said: “I am very happy about tonight’s game. It was a relief to win playing against such a very strong opponent like him; it was a narrow escape for me. I must commend Omotayo Jide for a very good game against Omar Assar. Omotayo is indeed another big star in Africa. I want everyone to come tomorrow. The fans’ support was a huge catalyst for my victory today, as always.”