Photo: Suzie Dyrbus, ITFJane Ndenga (KEN)
Kenya earned a place in Sunday’s women’s final against Egypt at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup African Qualification despite a 2-1 loss to Tanzania in a thrilling conclusion to the round-robin phase of the competition on home soil in Nairobi on Saturday.
For the second time in three years, Morocco will also face Nigeria in the men’s final after both the top seeded nations secured 3-0 victories in their final round round-robin pool ties against Egypt and Gambia respectively.
All three teams finished with one win apiece after completing the round-robin face of the women’s competition. The host nation got off to a good start against Tanzania as Jan Ndenga defeated Lucy Shirima 60 60, a result that proved crucial as it gave Kenya its fourth win in six rubbers across two round-robin ties.
Tanzania’s Rehema Selemani came from a set down in the second singles rubber to beat Kenya’s Phoebe Masika 26 75 62 and Tanzania went on to win the deciding doubles in a championship tiebreak as Selemani and Bihawa Mustafa launched a remarkable comeback to defeat Ndenga and Rahel Akoth 16 75 (11-9).
However, the last two rubbers of the tie were Tanzania’s only two wins in two round-robin contests and after an earlier 3-0 loss to Egypt, it was Egypt who gained second place in the pool to progress to the final.
Morocco and Nigeria reach men’s final
Boukartacha Lhaj and Ayoub Ettali secured a 3-0 win for top seed Morocco against Gambia in the final pool matches in the men’s event.
Ettali’s 60 61 win over Salifu Kujabi gave Morocco the perfect start to the tie and Lhaj held on for a 62 75 victory over Ousman Sanyang to give Morocco an unassailable lead before partnering Fouad Boughnim to defeat Kujabi and Sanyang 60 63.
Nigeria also finished top of its pool after a second 3-0 win as Wasiu Yusuf and Alex Adewale dropped just one game in three rubbers against Egypt. Wasiu powered to a 60 60 win against Ahmed Farouk before fellow Paralympian Adewale proved almost as dominant as he secured a 61 60 win over Mohamed Aly. Adewale and Yusuf completed the victory after defeating Mohamed Mahmoud and Ally 60 60.
Nigeria will now bid to win the BNP Paribas World Team Cup African Qualification for the third successive year.