Friday, March 4, 2016 8:53 pm
Africa’s best teams – Nigeria and Egypt were beaten by India at the ongoing ITTF World Team Championship to miss out from gaining promotion to the Championship Division of the tournament.
Nigeria and Egypt were unbeaten in the group stages winning all their five matches to top Group F and H respectively to make it to the quarterfinal stage.
But the two teams were beaten by India in the quarterfinal and semifinal stages of the competition.
Despite beating India 3-0 in the group round, Nigeria met a strong Indian team in the quarterfinal as Nigeria’s trio of Aruna Quadri, Segun Toriola and Bode Abiodun met a formidable Asian side led by their talisman, Sharath Achanta.
Despite losing the first two games against Gosh Soumyajit, Aruna Quadri levelled up to win 3-2 and this gave Nigeria a 1-0 lead but Achanta restored parity with a 3-0 win over Segun Toriola. Bode Abiodun put Nigeria ahead again with a 3-1 win over Harmeet Desai to put the encounter at 2-1 in favour of Nigeria.
The battle for supremacy now turned to Achanta and Aruna Quadri but experienced prevailed over youthfulness as Achanta defeated Quadri 3-1 to put the match at 2-2.
However, youthfulness overcame experience when Gosh Soumyajit and Segun Toriola clashed in the fifth match with Gosh Soumyajit winning 3-0 to give India the unexpected victory against Nigeria.
Unlike the battle they faced to beat Nigeria 3-2, India had an easy win over Egypt in the semifinal with Achanta being the architect of the victory.
In the first game, Omar Assar ran over Gosh Soumyajit with a 3-0 victory but Achanta as usual restored parity with a 3-0 win over Mohammed El-Beiali in the second match.
What was expected to be an easy ride for Egypt in the third match became their undoing as Harmeet Desai demystified El-Sayed Lashin 3-1 to puncture the confidence of the Egyptian.
But what really made the match out of the reach of Egyptian was the manner and way Achanta easily dismantled Omar Assar with a 3-0 bashing to stop any African team from making it to the elite division of the competition come 2018 in Sweden.
Congo Brazzaville failed to gain promotion to division two while they will campaign in same division in 2018 while Togo and Tunisia still maintained their status in division four.