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Africa Top 16 Cup - Abrefa in bright start

Author: Nathaniel Kwesi Somuah, Nairobi, Kenya
Derek Abrefa
Derek Abrefa

Battling with high altitude, Ghana’s Commonwealth Games medal hopeful, Derek Abrefa, overcame a resilient Lingeveldt Kurt of South Africa by 3-1 (11-2, 13-11, 9-11, 11-7) on the opening day at the Indoor Arena of the Moi International Stadium in Kasarani, Kenya, yesterday.

Lingeveldt, who is ranked number eight in the tournament, recovered from two sets down to nip an 11-9 win in the third game. Buoyed by that win, Lingeveldt took a commanding 5-1 lead in the fourth game, with Abrefa struggling to deal with his opponent’s forehand loops and backhand rallies.

With defeat staring him in the face, Abrefa had to dig deep into his wealth of experience to draw level at 6-6, leaving his opponent bemused at the sudden turn of events. There was no turning back for Abrefa as he cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory.

Abrefa’s next match against Sultan Godfrey of Seychelles is a make or break affair as victory will catapult him into the next stage of the competition. A slip will greatly dent his chances of qualifying as his last match is a cracker against Africa’s highest ranked player in the world, Omar Assar of Egypt, who is ranked 16th in the world.

“The match was tough as I struggled to acclimatise to the weather. I have the confidence to march on. My target is to qualify to the next round and cause an upset against Omar Assar,” Abrefa said.

In the female encounter, Ghana’s top seed, Celia Baah-Danso, lost 0-3 to Sarah Hanffou of Cameroun.