World number one in U-15 and U17, 14-year-old Hana Goda has been included in the Egyptian six-man team for the 2022 ITTF Africa Cup taking place in Lagos from May 26 to 28.
Goda, who has established herself as one of the most talented players to have emerged from Africa and has remained number one in the last one year while her performance in several WTT Youth Contender Series has made her a delight to watch on the table.
She had, however, announced herself in Africa when she bundled out 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 Senior Championships in Cameroon last year.
“I am so excited to play my first Africa Cup and looking forward to doing my best. I hope to just play freely and enjoy every moment by showing my best in Lagos,” Goda said.
Despite losing to her compatriot Mariam Alhodaby after taking a 3-0 lead, Goda was adjudged the stand-out player, being her maiden appearance in a senior continental tournament.
At the U-19 level, Goda is ranked number three while the recent senior ranking released by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has shot her to the 42nd spot in the world and the second-best female player in Africa behind Alhodaby who is rated 40th as the highest-ranked African female player which confined six-time African champion Meshref to 46th place in the world and the third-best in the continent.
Based on the latest ranking, Goda may be seeded number two in the women’s singles of the Africa Cup and considered the favourite for the women’s singles throne.
At present, Goda is on a playing tour of Sweden and Germany in her bid to conquer the continent in Lagos and she is poised to atone for last year’s African Championships defeat in Cameroon with her first continental title in Lagos come May 28.
Goda was on Wednesday May 11, appointed by the United Nations an ambassador for Shabab Balad, the Egyptian version of the global initiative, Generation Unlimited; which is the world’s first Public-Private-Youth Partnership (PPYP) aiming to educate and connect the world’s 1.8 billion young people aged 10-24 years, enabling them to make the most of opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.
With the appointment, Goda became the youngest Shabab Balad ambassador.