In the New Year, there are lots of expectations across the globe and in Africa, some of the finest players from the continent are eagerly waiting for action to resume and they have also set targets for themselves in 2019.

From North, West and South regions of Africa, the players are full of expectations ranging from winning laurels at continental and global stages. But without any doubt they are indeed bracing up for the new season as well as looking forward to African version of the Olympic Games – African Games holding later in the year in the city of Rabat and Casablanca in Morocco.

As a member of the bronze medal winning Ghanaian team at the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville, Emmanuel Commey is looking forward to wear another colour of medal in Morocco this year.

“My target this year with Ghana is to be able to make the podium again at the 2019 African Games after our surprise win over host – Congo Brazzaville to claim a bronze in men’s team event. I am really looking forward to join a club outside Ghana to improve my skills and get some new skills before the Olympic Games qualifiers. In Africa, I am also targeting to eight in the continent this year” – Emmanuel Commey (GHA)

After his superlative display at the 2018 ITTF African Championship in Mauritius, Olajide Omotayo of Nigeria is full of confidence facing any opponent in the continent having conquered some of Africa’s giants in Mauritius. The 22-year-old believes the 2019 African Games would afford him the opportunity to prove that his outing in Mauritius was no fluke.

“In 2019, I want to double my effort and focus on the tactical aspect of the game because I believe that before going out there for tournaments, I need to work on myself. My first tournament will be the ITTF World Tour in Hungary follows by the Portugal Open and others. I need to be more focus because there are so many tournaments to be played especially the African Games and other African tournaments as well. I must also thank God for where he has brought me and I believe he is yet to do more in my life. I will remain positive as always and keep fighting for the best that I can be” – Olajide Omotayo (NGR)

The outgoing year was not to impressive for Mohamed El-Beiali of Egypt but the Egyptian star is not giving up in 2019 with the hope of righting the wrong that befell him in 2018.

“I hope I can win the league with my team – Fenerbache in Turkey and medals with the Egyptian national team. I hope to make a meaningful impact at the World Championship in Budapest in Hungary. I am not rulling out the 2019 African Games where I am hoping for a good outing for Egypt in the tournament. Most importantly I am looking forward to make it to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. I am also looking forward to compete at ITTF title tournaments in Oman, Qatar, Morocco and Nigeria. My aim is also to make the top 100 this year Insha Allah and also to help my club to feature in the ETTU Champions league next season” – Mohamed El-Beiali (EGY)

At 11, Hana Goda of Egypt had started establishing herself as a star in Africa with several laurels in her kitty as a youngster. Having put the successes in 2018 behind her, Hana Goda is eagerly looking forward to a better outing in 2019.

“I hope to compete in tournaments in Sweden and Bahrain and with the hope of competing in tournaments in this New Year. I hope to represent Egypt at the African Cadet and Junior Championship and emerge as Africa cadet and hopes champion this year. At global level, I want to be in top four at the World Cadet Challenge and I know this will take a lot of hardwork and I am ready for it. We hope to attend camps in Europe and China this year as well” – Hana Goda (EGY)

Simeen Mookrey of South Africa braved the odd in 2018 when she inspired South Africa to clinch doubles medal at the 2018 ITTF African Championships in Mauritius. The teenager is getting more experience and this has been paying off for her in several tournaments. However, in 2019, Simeen Mookrey is setting high expectations for herself with the aim of being among the best in Africa.

“2018 I had some good tournaments and I did not do badly at the African Junior Championship and the Senior Championship. These were also good experience for me and I played some good matches in singles and doubles which motivated me a lot and showed me that anything is possible.

Unfortunately after that I had an injury and had to undergo surgery and I have not been very active since but I am now recovering and ready for 2019 and to see what it holds. Being out for this time has motivated me to work even harder this year because I realised that this is really what I love and I want to be better.

For 2019, now that I have completed high school I want to go to Europe and get better training because I know that it is not possible where I am currently and I have to sacrifice if I want to improve. There are some tournaments coming up this year such as the African Junior Championship and I can still compete in the U-21, African Games and ITTF Nigerian Open. I will be working hard and trying to do better in all of them and improve my ranking even more” – Simeen Mookrey (RSA)