An excited Ahmed Saleh of Egypt says defeating Nigeria in the male and female categories of table tennis events at the ongoing 12th African Games was important to them and a revenge against the country.
“I am so happy that we were able to achieve our dream of avenging the 2015 loss in 2019, and I think this is the most important match for us because we had prepared very well for it in the last five months,’’ Saleh said after the defeat late on Friday in Rabat.
“We expected that we will meet Nigeria in the final and we were really surprised with the doubles’ line-up of Nigeria when they paired Aruna Quadri and Segun Toriola because they have been playing with the pair of Toriola and Olajide Omotayo since the start of the tournament.
“This is very important for us picking the gold medals and securing our place in Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
“I am personally so excited and for the team we are so excited winning the gold medals and, most especially qualifying for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
“We really prepared for this match and we knew it was going to be tough even when we were leading 2-0. We had thought we could win the match at 3-0, but we had to fight till the end.
“Nigeria team is not a pushover and we prepared very well for the match because we had expected it to be tough. I am so happy that we have now secured our place in Tokyo.’’
Meanwhile, team Nigeria have booked semi-final slots in the male and female football events of the 12th African Games, as the Flying Eagles stopped the host Morocco in the last group match.
The Nigerian team needed a draw to stop Morocco who need to win to advance to semi-finals stage.