Kenya men’s volleyball team breaks the duck to beat Egypt at continental showpiece
It was a historic victory for the national men’s volleyball team ‘Wafalme’ over Egypt for the first time ever after defeating the later 3-2 (19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 18-25, 15-12) in a nail-biting contest in Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday night, to make a huge statement of intent at the ongoing Africa Nations Volleyball Championships.
Wafalme laid down a huge marker at the premier championship in their opening pool D fixture as they upset the eight-time champions in a gripping five-setter at the Kigali Arena, a team that Kenya has never beaten in the history of volleyball in Africa.
Egypt claimed the first set 25-19 before the Gideon Tarus-coached charges hit back with 25-22 and then made it 2-1 after winning the third set in 25-20.
Kenya needing only to win the fourth set, determined former champions bounced back to settle the score with 25-18 sending the tie to a decider set which Wafalme won 15-12 to bag two points.
Team manager Kenneth Tanui expressed his delight after seeing the ‘brave’ Wafalme pick up a hard fought victory over Egypt, adding that the night was extra special given the hurdle they had overcome.
“No one expected us to win against the former champions who’ve been a force to reckon with in Africa but in sports anything can happen, and the boys played very well and in an organised manner.
It was a crucial win which now leaves the group wide open,” Tanui told People Sport from Kigali.
He added: “We will quickly forget that win and focus on Morocco who are also very tough side and if pass that hurdle we will now be one leg into the quarter finals.”
After stunning the big boys, the Kenyans now sit second in pool ‘D’ behind leaders Morocco who thrashed Tanzania in straight sets earlier at the same venue.
Morocco beat Tanzania 3-0 (25-14, 25-14, 25-22). Tunisia and Cameroon have already booked their quarterfinal tickets after both giants set their second win on day 2 of the competition.
The remaining 6 slots in the quarterfinal will be determined through day three and four, (yesterday and today) of the preliminary round.
While as Pool A teams rested yesterday, Pool B saw Tunisia secure their second straight sets victory over Ethiopia 3-0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-16) to book the first quarterfinal ticket with 2-0 win- loss ratio and six points.
In the same Pool Nigeria recorded their first win over South Sudan 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-19) to recover after the opening loss against Tunisia.
Pool C showed Cameroon also gaining the second victory over Mali 3-0
(25-16, 25-17, 25-9) to improve their record to 2-0 with 6 points to book the second quarterfinal ticket.
In the same pool RDC recovered after the opening defeat to win Niger in grueling 5 setter 3-2 (28-26, 25-23, 21-25, 21-25, 15-11).