Aruna, Bello lead Nigeria contingent to Africa Cup in Kenya

2022 Africa Cup runner’s up Quadri Aruna and Fatimo Bello have been listed among the top elite players that will lead the Nigeria contingent to this year’s edition taking place at the Moi International Stadium in Nairobi from May 4 to 6.

Aruna who has been active on the WTT Series this year will be hoping to claim the title this year after injury knocked him out of it laurel in 2022 in Lagos.

The Nigerian ranked 12th in the world as the highest-rated African in the competition will head the seeding list ahead of defending champion Omar Assar of Egypt in the men’s singles.

In the women’s singles, Bello, a surprise runner’s up in 2022 will be returning to the big stage again with the hope of repeating her feat against the star-studded list released by the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) for the championships.

Bello, three-time West African champion is at present defending her title at the 2023 West Africa Regional championships in Accra, Ghana will have to contest against defending champion Hana Goda of Egypt as well as former champion Dina Meshref who has been in superb form in recent times.

Joining Aruna and Bello on the Nigeria team are Taiwo Mati and Tosin Esther Oribamise to compete in the men’s and women’s events in Kenya.

Mati, now based in Portugal will be hoping to re-enact the performance that saw him hitting the semi-final stage at the African championships in Algeria last year as he works his way into the top echelon of the African table tennis ladder.

Oribamise was a last-minute replacement for Edem Offiong whose club engagement in Europe stopped her from being part of the tournament.

Egypt will be assembling a strong six-man team for the men and women event as Assar and Goda defend their titles while Meshref and Yousra Helmy as well as Ahmed Saleh and Youssef Abdul-Aziz complete the North African side.

The tournament also marks the return of Senegal’s Ibrahima Diaw who is yet to get back to full fitness after he was side-lined from the game following an injury.

Meanwhile, this year’s Africa Cup serves as dress rehearsal for the first World Championships taking place in Africa in 84 years, which is due to take place in Durban, South Africa from May 20 to 28.

Source: Nigerian Table Tennis Federation

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