Nigeria continue to impress at the ongoing 2019 ITTF Africa Youth, Junior & Cadet Championships in Ghana with its representatives in the men U21 and Junior categories all advancing to the semifinal stage on Monday. The women’s Cadet and Junior teams also booked semifinal places on Monday.
The nation’s trio of Abayomi Animasahun, Taiwo Mati and Azeez Solanke secured a semifinal berth in the U21 men category with a 3-0 whitewash of Togo in the quarterfinal round. Taiwo Mati saw off Soudes Alassani 12-10, 11-6, 11-6 while Azeez Solanke was a 11-3,11-7,11-6 victor over Atanou Assou. Abayomi Animasahun was taken to the distance by Kossi Akakpo but prevailed eventually in a 9-11, 11-7, 9-11,11-6, 11-7 victory over the Togolese opponent.
Tunisia also booked their spot in the semifinal on Monday with a 3-0 demolition of the host nation, the trio of Youssef Ben Attia, Aboubaker Bourass and Louay Hamrouni seeing off Joseph Amissah, Oscar Forson and Emmanuel Ofor from the host nation.
Both teams join top seeds Egypt who earlier booked their places in the semifinal on the opening day of the Championships and second seeds Algeria who were secured a hard-fought five-match victory over Mauritius. Algeria’s Islem Tifoura was the hero for his team, securing victory in the vital fifth and deciding match of the fixture by recovering from losing the first set to overpower Mauritius’ Zayyan Hossein 5-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-5.
Nigeria tackle top-seeds Egypt while Algeria face fellow North Africans Tunisia today in the other semifinal tie in the U21 men’s category.
Meanwhile in the Junior category, Nigeria and Egypt both secured byes into the semifinal and remain on course to secure qualification to the ITTF World Junior Championships holding in Thailand in December. Both countries secured a place in the semifinal courtesy of remaining unbeaten in the group phases and they’ll be joined by Tunisia and Togo.
The Tunisians saw off fellow North Africans Algeria 3-0 in their quarterfinal duel on Monday while the Togolese accounted for South Africa 3-1 in the other quarterfinal match-up.
Nigeria represented by Emmanuel Augustine, Abayomi Animasahun, Jamiu Ayanwale and Azeez Solanke will face the Togolese team of Kossi Akakpo, Eke Victor Kueviakoe and Sedik Tchagole while fellow North Africans Tunisia and Egypt battle it out to determine the finalists that will book automatic qualification to the ITTF WJC.
Nigeria will also be in action in the Cadet Boy’s category when the duo of Jamiu Ayanwale and Taiwo Mati face Egypt who will select from Marwan Gamal, Amr Mahfouz and Mohammed Sameh in the semifinal today. In the opposite half of the draw Tunisia’s team of Youssef Abid, Habib Ameur and Khalil Sta confront Abderrahmane Azzala and Abdelwahab Bellahsene of Algeria.
The semi-finals of the under 21 men’s team, junior boys’ team and cadet boys’ team events will be played today, Tuesday 9th April.
In the women’s draw, Nigeria won’t be represented in the U21 Women’s semifinal after its representatives failed to qualify from the group stage however they secured berths in the penultimate rounds in both the Cadet and Junior Categories.
The Nigerian team of Sukurat Aiyelbegan, Rofiat Jimoh and Vivian Oku defeated their South African counterparts in their final group stage to qualify for the semifinal in the Junior Girl’s category where they will face the Mauritius team of Sandhana Desscann, Oumehani Hosenally and Nandeshwaree Jalim.
Egypt and Tunisia face off in the other semifinal encounter in the Junior Girl’s category.
Meanwhile, in the Cadet Girls’ team event, Nigeria’s Sukurat Aiyelbegan and Sadiat Alimat Akeem finished in second place behind Algeria in the group stage to qualify for the semi-final stage where they will play Farah Mahjoub and Maram Zoghlami of Tunisia.
Egypt who select from Farida Badawy, Rouaa Elnaghi, Hana Goda, Farah Mahjoub and Maram Zoghlami oppose the Algerian outfit formed by Melissa Belache, Hadil Merrouche and Julie Kayembe in the other semifinal.
The semi-finals of the under 21 women’s team, junior girls’ team and cadet girls’ team events will be conducted today, Tuesday 9th April.