East African volleyball giants Kenya and Rwanda commenced the 2015 African Volleyball Championship campaign on the wrong foot when they lost their opening games against Egypt and Morocco in straight sets respectively on Wednesday.
Record holders Egypt defeated Kenya 25-19, 25-14, 25-18, in a game Kenya’s captain Philip Maiyo top scored for his country with 10 points.
Maiyo was the only Kenyan who managed double figures as Ontere James followed in with six. Ahmed Salah led Egypt’s scorers with 12 points.
Rwanda who came to the championship with a target of finishing among the top four countries failed to show up against Morocco, the former lost 25-23, 25-13, 25-17.
Just like for Kenya, Rwanda’s captain Christopher Mukunzi top scored with eight points. Lawrence Yakan who is still recovering from a knee injury started the first two sets and could only make three points. Mutabazi Yves who replaced him at the beginning of the third managed two.
What increased the Moroccan dominance were the blockers who won 16 kill blocks against 5 for the Rwandans.
Rwanda led 14-7 in the first and 17-7 in the second but failed to hold their nerves as setter Ivan Mahoro Nsabimana made some wrong decisions.
Rwanda coach Paul Bitok then told CAVB in an interview .
I was disappointed especially after we had leads and couldn’t hold onto them, I have two senior players in Lawrence Yakan Christopher Mukunzi who had operations and are just recovering
Bitok believes the stage can only make his better
But I want to thank our government for allowing us to come and play at this championship that has strong teams like Egypt and Morocco, it helps the players improve and get better
Cameroon defeated Botswana 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-18) in the other pool B tie.
The championship continues on Thursday and Botswana will play Algeria in the only Pool A game while in Pool B, Rwanda will take on Mauritius and Tunisia will play Cameroon
The competition acts as a qualifier for the 2015 FIVB Men’s World Cup in Japan from September 8-23, 2015 as the top two teams will secure their tickets to the prestigious event.
Pool A: Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, Botswana
Pool B: Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritius, Cameroon, Rwanda
Pool B: Rwanda vs Mauritius
Pool A: Botswana vs Algeria
Pool B: Tunisia vs Cameroon