Individual clout and national pride are set to be tested to the limit from September 12th to 17th as Africa’s best players descend on Tunis, the Tunisian capital, to slug it out for places in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and the World Championships.
It is the second major, senior continental tournament this year after the African Cup held in Nairobi, Kenya and the stakes are higher as the winners in the team and mixed doubles events will automatically pick tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The top four countries in the team event will also secure continental places at the 2024 World Team Championships taking place in Busan, South Korea.
While heavyweights like Egypt and Nigeria are perennial bookers’ favourites, they face daunting competition from the likes of Tunisia, Algeria, Madagascar and a host of others.
Expectations are high as President of the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, acknowledged: “It is a qualification tournament for both the 2024 World Table Tennis Championships and the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.”
“We have new challengers from the African Championship due to the emergence of new top players who showed their quality at the 2023 ITTF-Africa Cup in Kenya and African Youth Championships in Morocco,” El-Salhy stated.
“Players from Madagascar and Algeria are not going to be pushovers in Tunisia as they are professional players plying their trade in France. They decided to play for their native countries for the first time in African events this year with superb results.
“I see that there will be a big challenge for the traditional top teams like Egypt, Nigeria and Tunisia for the qualification events and dominating the podium in Tunis,” the ATTF boss added.
Having hosted Africa and the world in a series of table tennis tournaments in the last few years, Tunisia is now established as a major table tennis hub, hence the country promises another exciting experience for the participating players and teams at the Rades Sports Complex venue of the qualifiers.
Tunisia hosted the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualifiers and President of the Tunisia Table Tennis Federation (TTTF) Lotfi Guerfel believes staging the 2024 Paris Olympic Games qualifiers is another opportunity for the country to showcase their ability to host top-class events and provide their players with the prospects of qualifying for Paris.
“Tunisia has gained so much, and at different levels, through hosting several tournaments in the last three years. Among the direct benefits are opportunities it offered to Tunisian players as it was possible for them to compete with many players that are very well ranked internationally,” Guerfel noted.
Group 1- Egypt, Zambia, Kenya
Group 2- Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda
Group 3- South Africa,Algeria, Benin
Group 4- Tunisia, Mauritius, Ghana, Rwanda
Group 1-Egypt, Cameroon, Togo., Rwanda
Group 2- Nigeria, Madagascar, Kenya, Zimbabwe
Group 3-Algeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Benin Republic
Group 4-Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, Zambia