The ITTF Africa Cup gets underway in Lagos tomorrow, with Dina Meshref among the top-ranked players ©ITTF-Africa

Fourteen-year-old phenomenon Hana Goda is shaping up as one of the favourites to take the women’s singles title at the International Table Tennis Federation’s Africa Cup which starts in Lagos tomorrow, concluding on Saturday (May 28).

Goda, already world number one at under-15 and under-17 level, has been included in six-strong Egyptian team and looks likely to be seeded number two in the women’s singles at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall in the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

She announced her talents in a big way last year when she beat former African champions Olufunke Oshonaike of Nigeria and her compatriot Dina Meshref to become the first teenager to play in the final of the African Championships in Cameroon.

Despite losing in the final to her compatriot Mariam Alhodaby after taking a 3-0 lead, Goda was adjudged the standout player on what was her maiden appearance in a senior continental tournament.

"I am so excited to play my first Africa Cup and looking forward to doing my best," Goda said.

"I hope to just play freely and enjoy every moment by showing my best in Lagos."

At under-19 level Goda is ranked world number three, and she stands 42nd in the recent ITTF senior rankings, two places behind the best-ranked African woman, Alhodaby, who will also be making her debut in the Africa Cup.

Goda has warmed up with a playing tour of Sweden and Germany.

Egypt’s men are spearheaded by world number 19 Omar Assar, who recently moved to Germany after playing two seasons in the French league, will seek to regain the trophy he won in 2019.

Respective reigning men’s and women’s champions Ahmed Saleh and Meshref will defend their titles.

The tournament, which serves as the continental qualifier for the end-of-the-year World Table Tennis Cup Finals, will involve 28 men and 20 women from 13 countries including Ghana, Ivory Coast, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tunisia, Algeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Egypt and Togo.