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Egypt edge Kenya out: Continental champions secure 3-2 set win in WC qualifier

FOOTBALL By -Oscar Pilipili | November 28th 2013

By Oscar Pilipili

The GSU team plays against Kenya Prisons during a previous league match at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. Kenya’s men’s team is in Kigali for the World Championship qualifiers. [PHOTO: BONIFACE OKENDO/STANDARD]

The Kenya volleyball men’s team on Tuesday put on an impressive show, stretching continental giants Egypt to five sets despite losing the World Championships African Group Q qualifier match in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Pharoahs won the match 3-2 (23-25, 25-20, 25-17, 18-25, 15-13) to maintain their dominance over the East Africans. The tournament involves Egypt, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya.

Egypt is through to the final round as one of the top three ranked teams in Africa. The top two teams in Kigali will secure their tickets directly to the final phase of the qualifier to be held in January.

Confederation of African Volleyball confirmed that all results against Egypt will not count in determining the top two positions. The national team, coached by Gideon Chenje, hosts Rwanda in a match that is expected to produce fireworks today.

Winners of the match will stand a better chance of winning gold since Kenya and Rwanda are highly favoured to claim two slots in the Group Five Zone.

Rwanda beat Kenya in their last meeting in Maputo during the All Africa Games. The Rwandese would want a repeat performance as the stakes are higher now.

Rwanda, coached by Kenya-born Paul Bitok, has a number of Europe-based professionals that the Chenje charges will need to mark.

The Kenyan squad is an experienced side inspired by Bulgaria-based Philip Maiyo. Other players Chenje will rely on to silence the hosts include Mike Chemos (Japan), long-serving captain Ibrahim Oduor, experienced stars Sila Makiso, Wesley Rono, Daniel Kiptoo, James Ontere, Elisha Aliwa and fast-rising Cornelius Kiplagat.

Kenya plays its third match against Uganda tomorrow before wrapping up their fixtures with an encounter against Burundi on Saturday.

careful approach

On paper, the final match against Burundi appears to be a walk-over but Kenya should tread carefully against the Ugandans, who have been giving Kenya a  serious headache, especially in Kampala.

Kenya Volleyball Federation Secretary General Evans Wasike, who is in Kigali, praised the team, saying they played well against Egypt.

“The outcome of the match clearly showed that the volleyball gap between countries south of the Sahara and Arab Africa is closing up very fast,” he said.

In the women’s game, most of the teams that will play in final round are already known.

Kenya is ranked in Group Two alongside Seychelles, Uganda, Tunisia, Senegal, Mozambique and Cape Verde.

Group One features Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, DR Congo and Zone Three winners and runners-up.

The national women’s team has resumed intensive training at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, under head coach David Lung’aho.

The final continental men’s contest will involve 16 teams, with the top three making it to the 2014 World Championships in Poland.

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