Day Four - Tunisia and Morocco qualify for World Championship
Nairobi, Kenya, September 19, 2004 - The semifinals of the 11th Junior Men African Nations Championships were full of drama as razor sharp Morocco bundled out defending champions Egypt 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-22) in the opening match while Tunisia swept past hosts Kenya 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-13) in the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Saturday.
The victories not only guaranteed both Morocco and Tunisia, who have not lost a match in the tournament, a place in the final but also a chance to represent Africa at next year's World Junior Men Championships which will be staged in New Delhi, India.
Morocco defeated Egypt
After losing the first set 22-25 to defending champions Egypt, Morocco recovered, gained their pose and made a dramatic fight back as they went on to clinch the next three sets and upset the champions.
As if in a hurry to book a ticket for next year's World Cup finals, Egypt went for the kill from the word go with A. Ramdan, A. Safwat and A. Mahy attacking the Moroccans from all angles bagging crucial points which eventually saw them lead by the first technical time out.
However Morocco never gave up and gave as good as they got, at one point taking the lead by the second technical time out. The crowd was later kept on its feet as the set went to the wire but eventually it was Egypt who displayed accuracy in spiking and blocking to clinch the first set.
Then came the drama. Just when Egypt thought they were destined to clinch the second set in a similar fashion with efforts from M. Raouf and M. Ehab who both had a wonderful game, Morocco changed tactics and came back to clinch the second set.
Come the third set, both teams exchanged leads at various stages. However, Morocco, relying heavily on their height advantage, had the last laugh and went ahead 2-1. By this stage Morocco were on their game and cheered on by embassy staff led by the Moroccan Ambassador to Kenya, they clinched the match and a finals spot.
Tunisia beat the hosts
Just as several local newspapers had predicted, the second semifinal match between hosts Kenya and Tunisia turned out to be a nightmare for Kenya's coach Michael Ndung'u.
Tunisia, who dropped a point right from the first play when Saduachi served wide off the court, composed themselves to lead Kenya up to the first and second technical time out. They raced on to seal the first set as the hosts struggled to stay into the game.
The second set was no different as Tunisia's Hamzaouni and Kaabi stood firm with Kenya's John Kamau, Laban Simiyu, libero Francis Kokonya and Oduor Odindo trying to put up a strong fight for the hosts only to find the Tunisian block difficult to penetrate.
Come the third set, Kenya looked beaten from the word go and despite Tunisia relaxing, the hosts failed to take advantage and the North Africans lead all the way to claim their spot in the final.