18 Feb 2018

Morocco, Egypt and Kenya, Tanzania into finals

News Article

Photo: Suzie ToynKenya Women

Morocco will play Egypt in the men’s final and Kenya will play Tanzania in the women’s final when the BNP Paribas World Team Cup African Qualification draws to a close on Sunday in Nairobi with two teams earning qualification for the 2018 BNP Paribas  World Team Cup in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.

Morocco finished top of Pool 1 in the men’s event after three days of round-robin competition after 3-0 wins over both Tanzania and Rwanda. Said Himam and Lhaj Boukartacha both earned 6-0 wins in their singles rubbers and dropped just two games in the doubles rubber as Morocco earned a comfortable victory over Rwanada on Saturday’s last day of pool competition.

Egypt’s Tarek Gharib Zahry and Mohamed Hassan Mohamed also combined to earn three straight sets wins against Mauritius on Saturday. Egypt subsequently finished top of Pool 2, having also beaten Ghana 3-0 and host nation Kenya 2-1 on Thursday’s first day of competition.

Morocco’s men’s team will now bid to win the BNP Paribas World Team Cup African Qualification for the second time since 2016.

Kenya and Tanzania to contest women’s final

In 2016 Morocco won both the men’s and women’s events at the African Qualification, but Morocco’s hopes of another victory came undone in dramatic circumstances in Saturday’s last Pool 2 round-robin contest against Tanzania.

With Kenya having already beaten Ghana 3-0 to advance to the final from Pool 1, Lucy Shirima pulled out all the stops to beat Morocco’s Samira Benichi 46 64 62 and give Tanzania the lead in the crucial final tie in Pool 2.     

World No. 47 Najwa Awane kept Morocco’s hopes alive with a 60 62 win over Tanzania’s Rehema Selemani, but the doubles rubber raised the excitement levels several notches.

Awane and Benichi snatched the opening set, but with Tanzania’s Selemani and Shirima dominating much of the second set they then went on to take a commanding 9-4 lead in the match tiebreak. Morocco brought it back to 9-7, but ultimately Selemani and Shirima held on to edge to a 57 62 (10-7) victory and an overall 2-1 triumph that put Tanzania into Sunday’s final.