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FIVB Men's Olympic Games 2008

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Menís African Qualifications, Final: Egypt to Beijing Olympic Games

Egyptian cap. Hamdy El Safi receiving the trophy from CAVB President Dr. Amr Elwani

Durban, South Africa February 9, 2008 - After a very exciting final, Egypt secured the African ticket to 2008 Beijing Olympic games following their victory over Algeria in a thriller five set match lasting for two hours of skillful Volleyball action that made the spectators very excited her at Tongaat hall in Durban, South Africa on Saturday.
 After it was clear that Egypt was going towards a three straight sets victory in their final against Algeria when they were 5 points ahead at the end of the third set, the Algerian team did the miracle and won the set followed by the fourth set to extend the match to tiebreak which increased the interest of the spectators who filled the competition hall.
 As it was the day of thrills the third place match went also to tiebreak as Cameroon came from two sets behind to win their match against Tunisia 3-2 after great effort from all Cameroon stars led by the Japan based spiker Jean Ndaki.
 After the end of the final CAVB President Dr. Amr Elwani and CAVB first Vice president and South Africa Volleyball Federation President Mr. Tubby Reddy give the trophy to the Egyptian team as well as the silver medal to Algeria, and the bronze to Cameroon. The matches were also attended by CAVB Vice presidents Mr. Baba Sy and Luis Majore Timba and Control Committee members Mr. Camilo Antao, CAVB Referee committee president Mr. Hassan Ahmed and CAVB Technical director Mrs. Howyda Mondy.
Egypt vs. Algeria
 Egypt players relaxed for few minutes that could end their hopes of Olympic ticket when they were two sets ahead and leading at the end of the third set before Algeria emerged and won two sets to extend the match to tiebreak which was won by the experience of the Egyptians. It took 127 minutes from the Egyptians to win the tough match 3-2 (26-24, 25-20, 25-27, 22-25, 15-9) due to the experience of the stars Hamdy El Safi, Ahmed Salah and Saleh Fathy in the critical time.
 Both teams started the match with the outstanding line up and they used at the start the strong spikes of the wing spikers from positions 2 and 4. Egypt started leading 3-2 after the spike service of Salah. Egypt blocked well the spikes of Ali Kerboua and Mohamed Chikhi to lead 8-6 at the first technical time out (FTT). Algeria used again the spike service of kerboua and the hits of Chikhi in position 2 to come near again until Egypt led narrowly at the second technical time out 16-15. Egypt continued using the block to defend the Algerian spikes and led 21-19 but Algeria returned back through the spike service and hits from position 4 to draw 22-22, then they led 24-23. The Egyptian captain Hamdy El Safi did again a good job in spiking from position 4 to en the set 26-24.
 The second set showed Algerian dominance in the first few points through the efficient spikes of Chikhi and Kerboua to lead 8-7. Egypt came back with the spike service Salah and Safi and changed the strategy to depend on the fast attacks through the middle blockers to lead 16-14 at the STT. The Algerian defense showed many mistakes and thus Egypt succeeded to win widely 25-20.
 The third set was the most exciting in the match as Egypt started leading after they arranged the attacks through the experienced left attacker El Safi and the efficient opposite Salah to lead 8-6 at the FTT. Algerian coach made many substitutions as he replaced his main setter Messaoud by Yocef Zerouki and he pushed Behallal in the field but Egypt stayed ahead 16-13 at the STT. When the Egyptian team showed that they are going towards a straight sets victory after leading 20-16, they lost the balance completely and began to commit frequent reception mistakes to allow Algeria to draw and then lead 24-23 before the Egyptians suddenly came on to draw but Algerian players were motivated enough to win the set which turned the match 27-25.
 The fourth set showed more concentration form the Algerian players who have become more motivated to win the match and thus they used the disturbance in the Egyptian reception to lead 8-7 after good spikes also from Rachid Benhellal and Kerboua. Algeria used again their well known service to continue leading 16-15 at the STT. After some reception and digging mistakes from the Egyptian players, Algeria used the potent service as well as the spikes of Chikhi and Benhellal to lead 20-18 and then 23-21 before they ended the exciting set 25-22 and extend the match to tie break. 
 The Tiebreak showed early Egyptian dominance when the left attacker Fathy and El Safi did good job to lead 6-5 and 8-7 at the turn of the court. After the turn Egypt led the court completely and succeeded to use the experience of the stars to win 15-9 and the long Marathon 3-2.
Tunisia vs. Cameroon
 Cameroon played more enthusiastic to win the third position and succeeded to defeat the depressed Tunisian team in a big five set match 3-2 (20-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-22, 16-14) in 96 minutes. It the second victory for Cameroon over Tunisia in history after the first one in the 2007 All Africa Games in Algeria and both under supervision of the same coach Mayam Blaise.
 Both teams started the match depressed for losing in the semifinal and losing the hopes of the Olympic ticket. The Tunisian team returned back to their original line up and succeeded to use the efficient spikes of Hichem Kaabi and Khalid Belaid to lead from the start of the match 8-7 at the FTT. Cameroon returned back after they arranged the block of Herve Owono and Marcel Ndaki but still Tunisia was the better side so they continued their lead until they won the set 25-20.
 Tunisia overwhelmed the second set as they succeeded frequently to penetrate Cameroon block through the intelligent spikes of Marouane Fehri and Belaid and lead 8-1 easily. Cameroon arranged their backline defense and succeeded to decrease the point deficit to 9-6 when the Tunisian coach asked for time out to rearrange his team. Tunisia changed the strategy and started to use the fast combinations through the setter Ghazi Guidara which was used well by Bilel Ben Hassine to reach to 16-11 at the STT. Again Tunisia continued the superior blocking and good defense to win the set 25-21.
 Cameroon made some substitutions in the third set putting in the line up Robert Samou and as wing spiker and David Feughouo in the middle blocker .They appeared in a completely different performance than in the first two sets and were dominant in all net actions. They used the strong service of Jean Ndaki and Samou to score many points as well as they adjusted the timing of their block to lead 8-2. Cameroon continued their superior action and led 16-7 at the STT due to spikes of Ndaki and the block of Elhadj Abbas. Although the Tunisian coach did many substitutions giving the chance to the other setter Saif El Majid and the center Skander Ben Tara and the big effort from the Tunisian player to come back to the set, Cameroon team was more consistent to win the set 25-18.
 Tunisia started the fourth set more serious and succeeded to lead 8-5 at the FTT through the attacks of Hosni Karamosli and Fehri. Tunisia showed that they are more consistent to win the set and the match 3-1 as they led widely till Cameroon played their best in the last few points and used their impermeable block to stop Tunisia when they were leading 22-20 and they scored 5 successive points to win the set 25-22 and extend the match to tiebreak.
 The more motivated Cameroon team started the tiebreak in better performance specially the opposite Jean Ndaki who sent his unstoppable hits from position 2 to allow his team to lead 5-3 and then 8-6 at the turn of the court. Tunisia came back with the spikes of Fehri and the block of Chezal. The set went point by point thereafter until Ndaki led Cameroon to the big victory.

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)
3rd and 4th positions Cameroon vs. Tunisia   3-2 (20-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-22, 16-14)
1st and 2nd positions Egypt vs. Algeria      3-2 (26-24, 25-20, 25-27, 22-25, 15-9)

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



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