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7 February 2014
Nairobi, Kenya, February 6, 2014- Host Kenya and emerging Botswana Men's volleyball teams started their champagne as victorious in Pool U of African qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Championship after they clinched the first win against Cape Verde and Zambia respectively.
Africa began process to select its three teams for the 2014 FIVB Men's World Championships with the first qualification tournament in Nairobi on February 6, 2014. Kenya and Botswana won respective opening matches on the first day of the Qualifiers played at Moi International Sports Center.
Kenya defeated newcomers Cape Verde 3-0 ((25-14, 25-17, 25-14) in their first match of the Pool "U" at Safaricom Indoor Arena. In the first match of the day, Botswana defeated Zambia in straight sets of 25-19, 25-12 and 25-11 to how intent of making impact in the tournament.
Winners of the five-nation tournament earn one of the three tickets reserved for Africa in the World Championships to be played in Poland on August 30 to September 21, 2014.
Kenya v Cape Verde 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-14)
The Kenyan team, playing before a raucous crowd conceded the first point of the match when a determined Cape Verde side took 1-0 lead. Kenya experienced attacker Bernard Musumba hit back with a rocket attack to bring the scores to 1-1. Cape Verde tried to come back through Helio Sanchez, Lopez Americo and Reis Valdir attacks but their attempts at the net hardly penetrated the defense of Kenyan team which played well to take 8-3 advantage at the first technical time out. The hosts attacked ferociously from all position to take the set 25-14.
The second set was closely contested after Cape Verde gained the first point to take 1-0 lead. Maiyo attack and double blocks by Wafula and Mokua successful blocks on Lopez Americo brought the scores to 3-2 before the hosts raced to take narrow 8-6 advantage. The combination of Makiso, Rono, Musumba and Maiyo at the net and setter Elisha Aliwa brought the set to a spectacular 25-17.
Cape Verde were outstanding at initials stages of the third set as they raced to take 8-6 lead at first technical time out. But the Islanders could not withstand the force of the hard hitting hosts who went ahead to take 16-11 lead before claiming the set 25-14.
Kenyan coach Gideon Chenje said: "It was important for us to win the opening match because the victory has given us more strength and raised confidence level among my players. We made few mistakes like net serves but we'll correct what we didn't do well before our next match against Egypt." Host captain Maiyo said: "We're happy to win the first match because we'll go into the next fixture (against Egypt) a highly motivated side."
Botswana v Zambia 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-11)
Botswana defeated Zambia in straight sets of 25-19, 25-12 and 25-11. The match started on equal footing with both teams keeping the scores close in the opening minutes of the first set. But Botswana had upper hand at both official technical time outs, leading 8-4 and 16-12. Zambia tried to close the gap bringing the scores to 17-15 but Botswana maintained lead to claim the first set 25-19.
Zambia performance dropped as the match progressed and Botswana used the chance to score quick points and win the second set 25-17.
Zambian coach Peter Kombaniya said: "I think the facility intimidated my players. We've played many friendly matches against Botswana and I expected them to do well. The absence of my two players (Chilolo Bbalo and Paul Mwale) who remained home due to academic engagements may have affected the team. I have to fight to win the next matches and maintain a place in the qualifiers."
The winning coach Manuel Torres said: "This is the first time we're playing in such big tournament. We're happy that we won our first match. Our reception was not perfect and we hope to improve as we go into the next match." Botswana captain Shadrack Kapeko said that winning the first match was very good because the victory would motivate the players as the move on to play Cape Verde. "Cape Verde is no easy team and I hope my colleagues would put in more efforts to win the match," he said.
Day 1 results
Kenya v Cape Verde 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-15)
Botswana v Zambia 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-11)
Day 2 Fixtures (Friday- Feb. 7, 2014)
2pm: Cape Verde v Zambia
4pm: Egypt v Kenya
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