Favourites Kenya and Egypt on Saturday qualified for the Africa Nations Championship in Cairo after winning their second games of the Zone V World Championship qualifiers at the Kasarani Indoor arena.
Hosts Kenya led the way here, defeating Rwanda 3-0 sets (25-22,25-16, 25-16) in a contest attended by thousands of fanatics including Deputy President William Ruto’s family and the Rwandan community in Nairobi.
Earlier, Egypt easily thrashed Uganda 3-0 sets (25-14, 25-12, 25-14) in the day’s opening assignment that served off at 3pm.
These results maintained the two giants unbeaten start in this four nation tournament which draws to a close at the same venue on Sunday evening.
It wasn’t however plain sailing for Japheth Munala’ Kenya against the vastly improved Rwandans.
Indeed, this one initially turned out to be a tight affair with the scores level at 14-14, 17-17 and 20-20 in set one, before Brackides Agala and Mercy Moim’s quick attacks from the centre and left of the court enabled the hosts triumph by a three point margin.
“I am proud of my girls who have played really well against the best team in Africa. I see them (Kenya) also beating Egypt tomorrow,” Rwanda coach Jean Marie Nsengiyuanva said.
The Rwandans however surprisingly dropped physically in the proceedings sets, allowing Kenyan attackers Noel Murambi and Moim to pull the strings comfortably to the excitement of a majority of the home fans.
“I expected them to push us but that said, it’s good we had a solution to all their attacks, we are now in a good position to finish off the job against Egypt,” Munala explained after the game.
Kenya had on day one defeated Uganda 3-0 sets (25-12,25-15,25-12) while Egypt similarly downed Rwanda 3-1 sets (25-18, 21-25, 25-23, 25-20) on Friday.
Thus, Sunday’s fixtures, including the potentially thrilling face-off between hosts Kenya and Egypt at 5pm, which is a replay of the Olympic Games qualifiers in Cameroon last year where the north Africans triumphed, is more or less a formality fixture meant to determine the rankings.
Entrance to the match venue is free.