Since making his debut for Algeria in 2015, 20-year-old Naim Karali has established himself as an integral part of the Algerian team. And when the 2017 ITTF Africa Cup serves on July 1 on Morocco, Naim Karali believes the reign Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri and Egypt’s Omar Assar may be coming to an end.

Having tasted defeat in the hand of Aruna Quadri in 2016, Naim Karali is eagerly hoping that things would work in his favour in Morocco.

“It’s going to be hard in Morocco, but table tennis is a game where everything is possible. I wish an Algerian player can win a title. I’m sure that my teammate Sami Kherouf can make a surprise as he showed a very good level last October with a very close lost against Segun Toriola and earlier a victory against Egypt’s El-Sayed Lashin. Definitely our target in a long term is not to play second fiddle to countries like Egypt or Nigeria for too long. I truly wish that my teammate Sami Kherouf will spring the surprise, but if it’s not him I hope a young player can make everyone doubt the reign of Aruna Quadri and Omar Assar,” he said.

The Switzerland-based southpaw player added: ““I think I’m well prepared as I just did one week of training with my teammates in Algiers and I’m going to continue the preparation with my club mates in Geneva before traveling to Morocco for the championship.”

“It is my first time taking part in a single event in Africa with the senior team so I want to show that I deserve to continue this way with my country. I will not want to disappoint by playing bad and I hope to do my best at every point. Also if I can take advantage of a good draw, I’ll be glad if I can bring a medal to my country.”

He has been impressed with the quality of African players, which he said has inspired him to work hard. “I think the standard of the game in Africa is evolving every year. The good results of some players like Aruna Quadri who made it to the quarterfinals of Rio 2016 Olympic Games for examples has brought hope to everyone that we can reach a new level in the future. In my two participations in African Junior and Cadet Championships in 2015 and 2016, I saw a lot of young players of almost every country evolving very quick in a good direction.”