All Africa games silver medalists Cameroon were the big losers of the opening as they were clashed with the big contenders for the cup Algeria. Tunisia beat South Africa while the defending champions defeated Botswana. Senegal swept the low experienced Rwandan team.
It is well known that the competition will be qualifying for the prestigious FIVB event, the 2007 World Cup in Japan next November.
The matches were attended by the Algerian Ambassador in Kenya Mr. Ali Ben Zarga, Control Committee President Mr. Tom Omongole, who expressed his gratitude to Kenya for the good organization after the last minute withdrawal of Kenya Volleyball, CAVB Technical Director Mrs. Howyda Mondy, Kenya volleyball Federation President Mr. Waithaka Kioni, and CC members Mr. Jacob Owiti and Mr. Salamba.
Kenya used a mixture of the experienced players who shared in the last victory in 2005 and the younger generation who replaced the old players gaining only the bronze in the last All Africa games to pull of their first victory over Botswana 3-0 (25-10, 25-14, 25-16) in 59 minutes in pool A.
Kenya head coach, Sammy Kirongo was happy with both the victory and the performance of his players putting Docoras Ndasaba, Bracksides Agala and the young center Diana Khisa as the match stars. “We had very bad performance in All Africa Games last July and we changed 5 players in the squad and I’m happy that this trial succeeded to provide a new team that can now keep the crown in our country.” Said Sammy cheerfully.
Botswana head coach, Carlos Orta Fellove was not sad for the defeat because he knows that his team is less experienced than the Kenyans. “We played the best team in this tournament and I think we came here to get the experience of these big competitions.” He said.
Kenya used the experienced players specially the strong left attacker Docoras Ndasaba and the setter Janet Wanja to make the difference from the start of the match, the first through her unstoppable spikes and the second with her skillful combinations an that allowed Kenya to win the set widely 25-10. in the second set Botswana was better specially in the first part so they decreased the point deficit to 25-14. In the third set Botswana did their best to return back to the match but the more experienced Kenyans.
Algeria defeated Cameroon 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 25-11) in a thriller match lasting 96 minutes of exciting volleyball in the competition Pool A. Algeria Head Coach Mouloud Ikhedji stated that the unsteady performance of the team throughout the match was due to the high altitude here in Nairobi which affected the team due to the Oxygen deficiency. “We had also the problem of short preparation after All Africa Games in our homelands because the duration between the two events (40 days) is not enough to regain our physical fitness.” Mouloud Said. “We used our strong service to end the job and also our front line through the match star Faiza and Lydia to dominate the match” He added.
Cameroon Head coach Joseph Nane was not happy after a referee decision and he referred the bad third set his team played to the reaction of this decision. “We lost against a better team today but sometimes one decision makes big disturbance to any team. We suffered from the improper reception all through the match and I hope to improve in the next matches.” Said the coach sadly.
Cameroon started the match in good performance so they led 8-5 and 16-13 due to the efficient spikes of Rebecca Nkot and Diboue Ruth. Algeria began to use the strong service to return back to the match as the setter Fatima Oukazi served six successive points to lead for the first time 17-16 before continuing 23-17 and finally Algeria won the set 25-20. The second set showed the same as Algeria used again the service and the experience of the strong wing spiker Fayza Tsabet and the professional center Lydia Oloumou to win the set 25-20. Cameroon played well in the third set improving their block and backline defense to win 25-23 after their attacker Sombang Ombassa used her skillful spikes. Algeria returned back to their performance as Faiza played a great role with the setter Fatima to win the fourth set widely 25-11.
Tunisia found it easy to achieve their competition first victory over South Africa 3-0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-9) in 58 minutes. Tunisia defeated their opponent through the tactical services which stopped all the South African offensive tactics.
Tunisia head coach Lotfi Ben Slimane studied the opponent well in their training session before the match so he used the strong service to control the match. “We usually depend on the team work as we have good backline defense, efficient spikers and solid centre block. South Africa played well but finally we were better in the previous factors.
South Africa head coach Abdel Hamid El Wassimy tried his best doing many substitutions but his reception and defense didn’t allow him to apply his attacking strategies. “We changed completely the main players of my team and we participated now with a new team with average age 21 years who need more experience to compete in these continental competitions. I think we can succeed in future to be in better form and to actually be in the fever of the competition.” Wassimy said.
Tunisia led the match from the start using the efficient spikers specially the team star Nihel El Ghoul and they succeeded to penetrate the undisciplined South African block to win the first set 25-13. The second set showed the same picture as Tunisia maintained the pressure through the attackers as the experienced spiker Arbia Rafrafi did well to lead her team to win 25-14. South Africa arranged their block in the third set trying to catch the match and so they went near in the first few points, but later Tunisia dominate again and used the strong service to win the set 25-9 and the match in straight sets.
Senegal played a great match both offensively and defensively to clinch a respected victory over Rwanda 3-0 (25-11, 28-26, 25-21) in 63 minutes in the competition pool A. Although he won the match easier than expected the head coach of Senegal Amadou Sene was not satisfied with his team’s performance as he thought that his setter Aminata Gueye was not up to the match in most of the match incidents. “If my setter is in her form we may have good results in this competition. We have to improve our defense in the next matches to compete for a good position in this competition. My best player today is Bineta Ndiaye who performed well in attacks. We applied a different strategy than that we played with during All Africa Games in Algeria.” He added.
Rwanda head coach Antoine Kubwimana referred the defeat to the disturbed defense and the improper reception. “We will try to treat the bad reception in our second match against South Africa tomorrow. I think my best player today was Monigue Uwinema.” He added.
After Senegal won the first set easily 25-11, Rwanda came to the match in the second set and led many times until Senegal used the efficient attacks through Niane Diouck and Ndiaye to win the set narrowly 28-26. Rwanda arranged their backline defense a little bit to come near in the third set but Senegal came on time at the end of the set to win 25-21 and the match in straight sets.
Day two Programme
Botswana vs. Cameroon
Uganda vs. Kenya
Rwanda vs. South Africa
Egypt vs. Senegal
Photos credited to FIVB.org.