PRESS RELEASE 10.01.2004


Africa Men - Tunisia claim Olympic ticket

Tunis, Tunisia, January 10, 2004 - Tunisia continued their prominence in African men's Volleyball by qualifying for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens after clinching a straight sets 25-19, 25-16, 25-22 victory over their arch rivals Egypt on Saturday at the Olympic Qualification tournament in the Tunisian capital of Tunis.

In front of the greatest number of spectators in the tournament, Tunisia deployed their impressive defensive game to make it difficult for Egypt to penetrate and gain an easier than expected victory.

In the first set it was easy for Tunisia to use their big guns Noureddine Hfaiedh and Khalid Belaid against the penetrable Egyptian block before the second set saw more of the same as most of the experienced Egyptian players, especially the Russian based spiker Hamdy Elsafy and the blocker Mahmoud Abdelaziz, were completely out of form. This allowed Tunisia to win the second set 25-16 after a group of attacks led by the clever setter Ghazi Guidara.

The third set was the best for the Egyptians when their Serbian head coach, Veselin Vukovic pushed the young wing spiker Ahmed Salah and the tall setter Abdalla Abdelsalam into the fray to see Egypt lead for the first time 8-7. But again they fell down in reception and service mistakes to pave the way for the Tunisian players to regain the lead at 16-14 and continue on to win the set and the match.

Tunisia ended the four nations tournament unbeaten on the top of the table with six points from three victories, followed by Egypt with five points, Algeria third with four points and South Africa with three points.