Nigeria's Aruna Quadri and Dina Meshref of Egypt are to defend their titles at this year's ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup holding in Nairobi, Kenya.
To win the tournament in 2016 in Khartoum, Sudan, Quadri defeated Omar Assar of Egypt 4-2 while Meshref also beat Edem Offiong of Nigeria and this year they will be aiming to retain their laurels when the championship serves off on March 1 in Kasarani indoor Gymnasium of Moi International Sports Stadium in Nairobi.
The top 16 players in men and women singles will compete in the qualification for the 2018 ITTF World Cups.
As the defending champion, Quadri and Segun Toriola qualified automatically as Nigeria's representatives in the men's singles, while Olufunke Oshonaike and Edem Offiong will compete in the women's singles.
According to ITTF Africa, Toriola, Oshonaike and Offiong qualifications was based on their continental rating.
For Egypt, Dina Meshref and Yousry Helmy will represent the North African nation in the women's singles while Omar Assar and Ahmed Saleh will compete in the men's singles.
Each participating nation is expected to have a maximum of two players in the men and women events.
For the host nation - Kenya, a lot of fans are looking forward to the tournament particularly to watch the rivalry between Quadri and Assar.
According to the President of Kenya table Tennis Association (KTTA), Andrew Mudibo, Kenyans are looking forward to watch the best of the continent.
"Many Kenyans who you talk to are looking forward to watching the best players in Africa. This is good for us as most of the times it is the strong sports like football, rugby and athletics that draw large crowds but this time round we hope the Kenyan fans will be able to come and be part of the legacy that this tournament will leave behind and Kenya Table Tennis Association will go all out to publicize the event to the Kenyan public for them to come and enjoy the games.
"We shall also be giving access to schools to bring their students to watch and maybe one of them will pick up the sport and be the next Segun Toriola, Quadri Aruna, Omar Assar or even Olufunke Oshonaike," Mudibo said.