Mostafa Dorgham defeated Mohamed Khairy 5-2 in an all-Egyptian final to win the 2023 African Snooker Championship in Morocco and secure a two-year World Snooker Tour card.
Having been the runner-up in 2018, it is 27-year-old Dorgham’s maiden African title, and he is set to make his debut as a professional player during the upcoming 2023/24 WST season.
Organised by the African Billiards and Snooker Confederation and the host nation’s Moroccan Snooker and Billiards Sports Association, several continental championships were contested across 11 days at the Crucible Academy in Casablanca. A total of 140 players in the main event were split into round robin groups with the top two from each advancing to knockout phase.
Dorgham cruised through his group without dropping a frame before eliminating Rizk Rady and Ahmed Galal both 3-0 in the last 64 and 32 respectively. His path to glory became significantly tougher from there, though, needing to come back from 2-0 down to defeat Ahmed Samir 4-2 in the last 16 and surviving a deciding frame as he ousted Abdelrahman Shahin 4-3 in the quarter-finals.
On finals day in the last four, Dorgham registered a 94 break on his way to seeing off fellow countryman Mahmoud El Hareedy 4-2.
Emerging from the other side of the draw was former professional and two-time finalist Khairy, who also topped his group and subsequently recorded victories against former champion Amine Amiri (last 64) and Hatem Yassen (quarter-finals). In the other semi-final, Khairy eliminated Morocco’s Hamadi Zerkani 4-2 to book another final berth.
Khairy was on course for a remarkable hat-trick having already claimed two titles during his trip. The 41-year-old pipped Shahin (Egypt) 6-5 in the final to win the African 6-Red Snooker Championship and completed a double when he defeated Houssin Maazouz (Morocco) 4-1 in the African Seniors Snooker Championship.
For the fourth time in the past five editions, the final of the main championship featured two Egyptian cueists, with both of this year’s finalists coming from the capital city Cairo. Khairy made the better start by taking the opening frame although Dorgham strung together the next three for a 3-1 lead.
The deficit was halved when Khairy gained frame five, but Dorgham was not to be denied the biggest prize of his career to date as he won the following two frames for victory.
Dorgham is now set to join compatriot Mohamed Ibrahim – winner of this title in 2022 – on the sport’s top tier over the coming months.
Khairy scored the tournament’s highest break for an effort of 119.
In an all-Moroccan final, Bennani Hind defeated Yasmine Yathrib 3-0 in the final to win the African Women’s Snooker Championship.