Undefeated Zamalek and Etoile set to play African Club Championship final

29 April 2012

SemifinalsTunisia, April 28, 2012 – four time champions Zamalek of Egypt will face off against two time titled Etoile du Sahle of Tunisia in the 2012 Men’s African Club Championship final in a repeat of Egypt- Tunisia regular derbies after both sides won their semifinal encounters.
 Etoile du Sahel proved their consistency to see off Defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-23) in 74 minutes before Zamalek  ended Algeria’s Borj Bou Arririj dreams of a spot in the final with 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-14) victory in the other semifinal.
Zamalek will now compete for a fifth title while Etoile du Sahel will be on the prowl for their third title when they meet in the final on Sunday.
 Elsewhere Ahly faces Borj Bou Arririj for the bronze medal
The competition acts as a qualifier for the 2012 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship to be hosted in Qatar from October 13 to 19.
Quarterfinal 1-4
Etoile du Sahel (TUN) beat Ahly (EGY) 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-23)
 Host club Etoile du Sahel (TUN) aided with 5.000 spectators took over defending champions and 10 time holders Ahly (EGY) 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-23) in 74 minutes that showed unusual mistake from the Egyptian team that cost the heavy favourite to lose the match.
The first set showed Etoile dominance through the efficient spikes from the opposite spiker Marouane Garci who penetrated Ahly’s block frequently aided by the experienced wing spiker Nourredine Hfaiedh, Although Ahly tried to use the quick attacks through centers Mohamed Ketat and Abdelatif Osman but the Tunisian blockers were there to abort this and allow them to win the set 25-23.
 The second set showed fluctuation in the performance of both teams as Ahly showed early lead through their strong spike service and then Etoile regained the rhythm to lead 12-7 following a group of combinations led by the setter Mohamed Ben Slimane. Again Ahly succeeded to adjust the backline defense to draw 23-23 before the Tunisian team went to a second set win 26-24.
 The third set showed early disturbance for Ahly in reception and backline defense that allowed Etoile to go through and achieve a wide lead 15-8 before their coach changed the team completely to play with the substitutes. The veteran Hfaiedh played a great role in his team come back with his tactical service and crucial spikes to win the third set and the match in straight.  
Zamalek (EGY) beat Borj Bou Arririj (ALG) 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-14)
Zamalek deployed their solid block of Mohamed Ali and Ahmed El Sheikh to cruise past Borj Bou Arririj (ALG) 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-14) in 85 minutes.
 The Algerian team started the match with proper backline daefense and used their big gun Toufik Majoubi to penetrate the blocker as they succeeded to win the first set 25-23. There after Zamalek arranged their backline defense and blockers to stop the Algerian attacks and build up their combinations led by the skilful setter Ashraf Aboul Hassan. With the superior performance of the wing spiker Mohamed Abdel Moneim and Reda Heikal Zamalk succeded to win three successive sets in their way to the final.
Play off 5-8
Esperance (TUN) beat El Guish (EGY) 3-2 (18-25, 28-26, 23-25, 25-21, 15-9)
Esperance of Tunisia rebounded twice from a set behind to down El Guish of Egypt 3-2 (18-25, 28-26, 23-25, 25-21, 15-9) in 125 minutes of thrilling action at Msaken Hall. The Egyptian team started the match as the better side as they used the experience of their veteran Hamdy El Safy and Mohamed Abdel Rahman to win the first set before losing narrowly the second set. They continued the same rhythm in the third set using the spikes of Mohamed Gabal and Mamhouh Abdel Rahman. Esperance reached their peak performance in the fourth set with the opposite spiker Hechim El Kaabi sending his strong hits with Chokri El Juini to win the fourth set and they were fit enough to win the tiebreak thereafter. 
Bejaia (ALG) beat Prisons (KEN) 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 23-25, 27-25, 15-12)
 Bejaia of Algeria fought for 111 minutes to clinch a difficult win against the struggling and well fighting Prisons club of Kenya. The winners started aggressively the first set with their spikes from all the net position. Prisons rebounded aggressively to win two successive sets after a fantastic performance from their opposite Mickael Shimos who send his sharp spikes from position 2. Bejaia used the experience of their players to win the crucial points of the fourth set and then the tiebreak to win the long Marathon 3-2.
Semifinal Results
Semi-Final 1-4
Zamalek (EGY) x Borj Bou Arririj (ALG) 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-14)
Etoile du Sahel (TUN) x Ahly (EGY) 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 25-23)
Play off 5-8
EST (TUN) x Guish (EGY) 3-2 (18-25, 28-26, 23-25, 25-21, 15-9)
Bejaia (ALG) x Prisons (KEN) 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 23-25, 27-25, 15-12)
Play off 9-12
APR (RWA) x Ahly B Ghazi (LBY) 3-1 (19-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-16)
GSU (KEN) x FAP (CMR) 3-2 (16-25, 25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 22-20)
Play off 13-16
Ahly Tripoli (LBY) x Mwangaza (RDC) 3-1 (25-11, 21-25, 25-13, 25-19)
Sun Shine (NGR) x F Terrestre (RDC) 3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-21)
Ranking 17-20
17-18 : Manga (Gabon) x Omni Sport (CIV) 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-14)
19-20 : AS Voara (MAD) x Inter (Congo B) 3-1 (28-30, 25-17, 25-22, 25-15)
Finals Programme on April 29
Final Match
Etoile du Sahel (TUN) x Zamalek (EGY)
Bronze medal match
Ahly (EGY) x Bouaririj (ALG)
Ranking 5-8
5-6 : EST (TUN) x Bejaia (ALG)
7-8 : Guish (EGY) x Prisons (KEN)
Ranking 9-12
9-10 : APR (RWA) x GSU (KEN)
11-12 : Ahly Ben Ghazi (LBY) x FAP (CMR)
Ranking 13-16
13-14 : Ahly Tripoli (LBY) x Sun Shine (NGR)
15-16 : Mwangaza (RDC) x F Terrestre (RDC)