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FIVB Men's Olympic Games 2008

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Menís African Olympic Qualifications' Semifinals: Egypt and Algeria to final spot

Shaarawy Hossam (here at the World Cup) from Egypt

 Durban, South Africa February 8, 2008 - After a very exciting day fully attended by the spectators Egypt and Algeria qualified to the final spot of the African Olympic qualification to determine continental representative in Beijing 2008 after the North African neighbors cut their way towards the Olympic ticket following their victories over Cameroon and Tunisia respectively in the semifinal here at Tongaat hall in Durban, South Africa on Friday.
 Egypt and Algeria will meet on Saturday to determine the African representative in 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where the Egyptian side is searching for the second Olympic qualification in 8 years after they qualified for the last time in Sydney 2000, while Algerian men want to follow the footsteps of their womenís counterparts who have already qualified early last month. The final will be preceded by the bronze medal match between Tunisia and Cameroon.
 It is well known that the champions of this competition will secure the African Vacancy in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
 The matches were attended by CAVB President Dr. Amr Elwani, CAVB first Vice president and South Africa Volleyball Federation President Mr. Tubby Reddy, CAVB Vice president Mr. Baba Sy and Control Committee members Mr. Camilo Antao, CAVB Referee committee president Mr. Hassan Ahmed and CAVB Technical director Mrs. Howyda Mondy.
Algeria vs. Tunisia
 Algeria fought for two hours to achieve the biggest qualifications surprise as they defeated one of the major favorites for the Olympic ticket, Tunisia in a big five sets match 3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 25-22, 20-25, 15-8). Algeria qualified to the final of a big African competition for the first time since 15 years when they won the African Nations Championship in 1993. The Algerian teams used the big guns Ali Kerboua and Mohamed Chikhi to disturb the Tunisian defense all through the match. On the other hand Tunisia started the match with their well known strength to win the first set but due to the deterioration of the reception and block Algeria had the upper hand until the end of the match.
 Both teams started the match with the standing line up and with the same strategy, but Tunisia was the better side as they led 4-0 after a group of spikes from Marouane Fehri and Hichem Kaabi putting the Algerian coach under pressure of asking for time out. Algeria arranged their block and defense and got the same points like Tunisia at the FTT as Tunisia led 8-4. Algeria began to use the two strong left attackers Ali Kerboua and Mohamed Chikhi to decrease the point deficit to 13-10 before Tunisia reached to 16-12 at the STT. The Algerian block did a good job for a while through the centers Mohamed Oumessad and Toufik Belaid so the result reached to 20-18. Tunisia regained their intelligence of spiking the balls beside and above the block and continued till they won the set 25-22.
 Algeria started to use their well known strong spike service of Kerboua as well as the spikes of Chikhi to lead 4-1. The Tunisian reception and digging was disturbed for a while but rapidly rearranged to stop the Algerian attacks and regained the lead at the FTT 8-7. Tunisia changed the strategy and started to use the fast attacks through the centers Ghezal and Bilel Ben Hassine to lead 12-10, but Algeria arranged their block and also depended on the fast combinations from position 3 and led 16-15 at the STT. Algerian block was superior and allowed them to maintain leading 21-19 specially after the combinations led by the setter Debbih Messaoud. Chikhi and Toufik Madjoubi spiked intelligently through the Tunisian block to win the set 25-22.
 Algeria started the third set as the better side while Tunisia complained of bad reception and thus Algeria led 8-6 at the first technical time out (FTT). Both team depended on the middle blocker for the attacks and the Algerian side was better in this specially they showed better defense and they led 16-14 at the second technical time out (STT). The Tunisian coach made some substitutions and replaced Kaabi by Karamosli so they came near till 19-18. Kerboua led Algeria with his spikes from position 4 and also his spike service to allow his team to win the set 25-22.
 The Tunisian coach started the fourth set with the other setter Saifeddine El Majid instead of the team captain Ghazi Guidara and also Karamosli as right attacker instead of Kaabi. Tunisia regained their concentration and started leading 8-5 at the FTT due to the impermeable block and the potent spikes led by the setter El Majid. Tunisian block of Ben Hassine, Ghezal and Fehri was better so they increased the point deficit to 11-7. Tunisia used the disturbed Algerian defense to stay leading 16-11. Algeria tried to return back to the set but Tunisia was more organized in attack and defense to win the set 25-20 and drew 2-2 in sets to extend the match to tiebreak
 Algeria used the weapon of spike service of Kerboua to lead 8-1 at the court shift using the improper Tunisian reception. Algeria continued their superiority through the fast attacks of the centers in position 3 to increase the point deficit to 13-3. Tunisia tried to save the match and scored 5 points but the Algerian more relaxed players did it and won the tiebreak 15-8 and the match 3-2.
Egypt vs. Cameroon
 Egypt rebounded back from one set behind to win their semifinal match against the strong Cameroon team 3-1 (19-25, 25-23, 25-21, 28-26) in 101 minutes of thriller performance that made the spectators on their toes specially in the fourth set. Cameroon team played a marvelous match and only lost the critical points each set against the Egyptians who were not in their top form specially in serving and receiving. Cameroon head coach Mayam Blaise surprised Egypt by playing with his star Jean Ndaki as opposite instead of middle blocker and succeeded to win a set and was near to win the fourth set when they missed 3 set points.
 Cameroon started the match aggressively as they used well the Egyptian mistakes in serving and defense and succeeded to block well Egypt through the middle blocker El Hadj Abbas to lead 8-4 at the FTT. Egypt coach asked for time out when the result widened to 10-5 and afterwards Egypt improved relatively their block against Cameroon attacks and thus Egypt decreased the point deficit to 13-10. Cameroon big guns Wounembaina and Jean Ndaki penetrated regularly the Egyptian block to continue leading 16-10 at the STT. Cameroon spikers repeated their unstoppable hits against the weak Egyptian block through Jean Ndaki and Moussa to win the set 25-19.
 Egypt started the second set with two substitutions as the Egyptian coach replaced the setter Ashraf Aboul Hassan by the other setter Mohamed Mahdi and the left attacker Mohamed Abdel Moneim by Saleh Fathy. Cameroon continued the same strategy and depended on the rockets sent by Ndaki and Wounembaina. Egypt improved the block to lead 5-3 but quickly they fell in the same service mistakes to allow Cameroon to lead 8-7 at the FTT. Egypt improved their block through Saleh Fathy and Hossam Shaarawy and used the big gun Ahmed Salah to spike his well known rockets from position 2 and thus Egypt led 16-14 at the STT. Egypt continued as the better side through the much improved block of Mohamed Ali and Fathy to continue leading till 24-19. Cameroon scored 4 successive points before the Egyptian team won the set 25-23.
 Egypt started the third set with the same rhythm and through the efficient services they led widely at the FTT 8-2. Cameroon arranged their block through Abbas and repeated their strong spike service Wounembaina to decrease the point deficit to 9-6. The Egyptian wing spiker Fathy did well in spiking from both front and backline and again Egypt widen the score to 16-10 at the STT. Egyptian coach made many substitutions to keep the momentum and through the spikes of Fathy and Salah Egypt continued leading 22-16 when Cameroon coach asked for time out to rearrange his players and he succeeded to decrease the point deficit relatively 23-20 but succeeded to win the set 25-21.
 Cameroon improved their block in the fourth set against the Egyptian attacks and they succeeded to lead 8-5 after good combinations from the setter Marcel Ndaki. Egypt rebounded back through the unstoppable spikes of Salah and Fathy to reach to the draw 13-13. Cameroon opposite Jean Naki served well and Valery Tatsi spiked efficiently to allow Cameroon to regain the lead 19-16. The match went to the most exciting part as Cameroon led 24-21 and lost three set points before the Egyptian coach made frequent substitutions to save the set and he succeeded to bring the draw 24-24 before Egypt won the thriller set 28-26.

Day 1
Gabon vs. Mozambique            Group B     3-0 (25-16, 25-23, 25-22)
Nigeria vs. Algeria                    Group A     0-3 (19-25, 13-25, 20-25)
Morocco vs. Tunisia                  Group B     0-3 (18-25, 20-25, 16-25)
South Africa vs. Cameroon        Group A     0-3 (17-25, 19-25, 22-25)
Day 2
Mozambique vs. Morocco          Group B     0-3 (16-25, 15-25, 12-25) 
Rwanda vs. Cameroon              Group A     0-3 (18-25, 15-25, 17-25)
Egypt vs. Tunisia                      Group B      3-2 (27-25, 29-27, 20-25, 23-25, 16-14)
South Africa vs. Nigeria             Group A      3-2 (25-20, 18-25, 25-19, 26-28, 15-10)
Day 3
Egypt vs. Gabon                       Group B      3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-10)
Nigeria vs. Rwanda                   Group A      3-1 (17-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-17)
Tunisia vs. Mozambique           Group B      3-0 (25-13, 25-9, 25-12)
Algeria vs. South Africa              Group A      3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 26-24)
Day 4 
Morocco vs. Gabon                   Group B      3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-13)
Algeria vs. Rwanda                   Group A      3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-17)
Egypt vs. Mozambique              Group B      3-0 (25-11, 25-12, 25-18)
Cameroon vs. Nigeria               Group A      3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-21)
Day 5
Tunisia vs. Gabon                     Group B       3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-15)
Algeria vs. Cameroon                Group A       3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 21-25, 25-19)  
Egypt vs. Morocco                      Group B       3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-21)
South Africa vs. Rwanda             Group A       3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 30-32,31-29)
Algeria vs. Tunisia                                       3-2 (22-25, 25-22, 25-22, 20-25, 15-8)
Egypt vs. Cameroon                                    3-1 (19-25, 25-23, 25-21, 28-26)

Final Ranking of Pools
Pool A
1. Algeria              8 points in 4 matches
2. Cameroon         7 points in 4 matches
3. South Africa       6 points in 4 matches
4. Nigeria              5 points in 4 matches
5. Rwanda             4 points in 4 matches
Pool B
1. Egypt                 8 points in 4 matches
2. Tunisia              7 points in 4 matches
3. Morocco             6 points in 4 matches
4. Gabon               5 points in 4 matches
5. Mozambique      4 points in 4 matches

Final Programme: GMT +2
13:00  3rd and 4th positions Tunisia vs. Cameroon
15:00  1st and 2nd positions Egypt vs. Algeria



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