August 05, 2003 - The two favourites at the 14th African Nations Championship, Tunisia, the African record holder at the Nations Championship and the host team, Egypt, proceeded through to the finals after winning their semifinal matches against Algeria and Cameroon respectively both by 3-1.
Tunisia the winner of the competition seven times, defeated Algeria 29-31, 25-22, 25-22, 25-16 while Egypt, the two-time champions clinched a 25-15, 25-18, 28-30, 25-21 victory over the defending champions, Cameroon to qualify for Wednesday's final. The fixture will be the fifth time in the history of the tournament Egypt has met Tunisia in the final.
Meanwhile, South Africa won the seventh place match against Rwanda 3-2 (26-28, 25-16, 25-16, 20-25, 15-11).
Tunisia recovered after losing the first set to win in 99 minutes of fantastic Volleyball and qualified to the final for the tenth time out of 14 competitions - an African record. The first set was the longest in this championship as both teams attained the lead with Algerian players, especially the spikers Bernaoui Krimo and Belaid Touafik, more stable, thus they wrapped up the set 31-29 in half an hour.
The second set saw Tunisia regain their performance and their experienced spiker Noureddine Hfaiedh and blocker Chaker Ghazal were in top form to lead 8-6 in the technical time-out. The Tunisian setter Ghazi Guidara led his team with different attacking complexes to continue the lead and winning the set 25-22.
The Algerian team started the third set actively using their good defense with the libro Dif Hassan and Hachemi Mehdi as the most prominent players. Again Tunisia regained the lead ending the set 25-22 by a group of perfect attacks of Noureddine and Chaker.
In the fourth set Algeria appeared with a low spirit paving the way for Tunisia to lead easily and to win the set 25-16 in 20 minutes.
The second semifinal between Egypt and Cameroon was also very exciting especially the third and fourth sets when the performance of the Cameroon team reached its peak after Egypt won the first two sets easily. Egypt won 25-15, 25-18, 28-30, 25-21 in 86 minutes to qualify for the final for the seventh time in their history.
The first set was the easiest for Egypt as they won 25-15 in only 17 minutes because of the stable performance of the key players like the setter Mohamed Abdelrahman and the spiker Hamdi El-Safy.
In the second set Egypt swept away easily in the first two thirds of the set to lead 8-6 in the first technical time-out courtesy of the very active setter Abdelrahman. Then Egypt led also in the second technical time-out 16-10 due to the activity of Mahmoud Abdelfattah before Cameroon regain the rhythm to narrow the point deficit to end the set 25-18.
The third set was the most interesting in the day, as Egypt led as usual at the start 8-6 by their solid block of Ibrahim Rashwan and Islam Awad. Cameroon reached the optimum performance afterwards by the net activity through Ndaki Mboulet and Nanga to level the score for the first time 23-23. Egypt had two match points when they led 24-23 and 25-24 but the very active Cameroon attacks ended the set 30-28.
In the fourth set the Egyptian coach used his main line up to lead again after improving the block against the superstar of Cameroon team Ndaki. The experience of Egypt ended the set for the host team 25-21.
SOUTH AFRICA- RWANDA
In the match for ninth place - the last 2 positions in the tournament - between South Africa and Rwanda it was South Africa who triumphed 3-2 (26-28, 25-16, 25-16, 20-25, 15-11). The first set was the most exciting as Rwanda led from the start due to the activity of the the spiker Jeanluc and the blocker Emmanuel Mdumgutse, but although the improvement of the South Africans by the net was significant, Rwanda won narrowly 28-26.
In the second and third sets South Africa regained their performance, especially Guershon Rorich and Naidoo Leslie to win both of them easily by the same margin, nine points.
Again Rwanda improved their defense and tight block by the blocker Elie Motabazi and the libero Eugeme to win the fourth set 25-20.
In the final set South Africa ended the match by the activity of their key players Guershon and Naidoo to win the tie-break 15-11.