Nigeria’s U-19 representatives at the 2022 ITTF Africa Youth Championships secured their slot at the World Youth Championships after beating Egypt 3-1 in the final of the team event on Saturday, July 23.
The win helped Nigeria halt the dominance of Egypt in the team events of the 2022 ITTF Africa Youth Championships as Taiwo Mati became the hero for Nigeria at the expense of the North African.
The continental youth championships are making a return since the last edition held in Accra, Ghana in 2019 following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic with Tunis hosting some of the best youngsters in Africa.
According to the Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), the tournament serves as qualifiers for the World Youth Championships taking place later in the year in the same venue in Tunisia.
On the final day of the team event, Egypt had dominated the girls’ U-19 and U-15 while they also avenged their group stage 3-1 loss to Nigeria as they were at their best against the trio of Matthew Kuti, Mustapha Mustapha and Musa Mustapha in the boys’ U-15 final.
In the boys’ U-15 final, the Egyptian trio of Gaber Yassin, Abdelaal Anas and Elsayed Abdelmalk played their best game against the Nigerian youngsters as a spirited effort by Kuti was thwarted by Yassin in the fourth game for the Egyptian side to claim a 3-1 win.
With three gold medals already in their kitty on the final day of the team event, the Nigerian trio of Taiwo Mati, Boboye Samuel and Muiz Adegoke ensured that the Egyptians made a clean sweep with a convincing 3-1 win over the Egyptians.
It was Mati that started the campaign on a winning note against Egypt’s GAMAL Marwan with a 3-1 (11-1, 10-12, 11-8, 12-10) win while Boboye failed in his quest to increase the tally for Nigeria when he fell 2-3 (5-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-9, 11-13) to AZZAM Mohamed.
Adegoke restored Nigeria’s lead with a 3-1 (8-11, 11-3, 11-8, 11-8) win over ELSHAWA Ziad.
The star of the Nigerian team Mati completed the 3-1 rout for the West African side with a 3-1 (5-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-9) win to halter Egypt’s medal sweep in the team event.
The singles event of the tournament served off on Sunday, July 24 with Mati listed as the top seed in the boys’ U-19 and has been given a bye to the next round, the Nigerian sensation is expected to face Kenya’s Shah Heeray in the second round of the singles on Monday, July 25.
Current African women champion, 14-year-old Hana Goda will be aiming to dominate the junior level after ruling the senior cadre a few weeks ago in Lagos.
The tournament ends on July 27 with Egypt, Nigeria and Tunisia already securing their places at the 2022 World Youth Championships.
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