Modena, Italy, September 27, 2010 – Cameroon overcame a one-set deficit to outlast Australia for a famous 3-1 (21-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-19) win, its first victory in Pool C at Modena and first ever at the FIVB World Championships (not including consolation finals).
The defeat sent winless Australia out of the competition while the team from central Africa move on to the second round in Ancona. Cameroon beat Venezuela in a consolation final for 13th-16th places at the 1990 Men's World Championship, their only appearance in Volleyball's premier event prior to this edition. “You can’t imagine what this victory means for people in Africa,” said an emotional Peter Nonnenbraich, the German coach of Cameroon who was in tears at the press conference.
J.P. Ndaki, who plays for the Japanese Sakai Blazers in Osaka, led the winners with 26 points and now totals 65 in three matches. Nathan Wounembaina contributed 19 points and Maliki Moussa added eight. Paul Carroll and Igor Yudin top-scored for the Aussies with 17 and 16 points respectively.
Today’s clash was the decisive one for staying in Italy for the next round. The two coaches confirmed the starting six of their previous matches with just one change from Cameroon, Mboulet (nicknamed JP San because he plays in Japan) switched to outside hitter with Feughoud moved to opposite. At the first technical timeout Australia led 8-6. Cameroon then committed errors and Australia took an 18-13 lead. Cameroon narrowed the gap thanks to Feghoud’s attacks (18-16) but Carroll’s ace brought Australia to 24-19 and a serving error from Wounembaina gave the set to the Aussies (25-21).
The second set was more even and many fans in the stands were siding with Cameroon while the African players started to produce some good Volleyball, especially in attack. Cameroon reached the second technical timeout at 16-16 and , driven on by JP San, a good block by Zonzon sent the Africans into a two-point lead (18-16). Wounenbaina’s block offered Cameroon another important break (22-20) and a decisive block by JP San gave the African side its first set of the tournament (25-22).
In the third set Cameroon maintained their momentum and gained a big lead (9-4). Youdin and Hardy pulled it back for Australia to 14-13 but the talented Wounembaina, who plays for Noliko Maaseik in Belgium, scored to give Cameroon a 19-15 lead. JP San then made the winning strike at 25-21, leading to loud cheers from the many Cameroon supporters at PalaCasaModena.
The combination of Ndaki and Wounembaina continued to land powerful attacks on the other side of the net and the confidence of Cameroon went into a crescendo as they took the lead 13-10 and 16-12 in the fourth set. The gap between the two sides kept growing, the Australian coach opted for Alexander as setter and Edgar as opposite but JP Ndaki’s spikes were almost unstoppable and Cameroon flew into leads of 20-16 and 23-17. One laser-shot from the arm of Ndaki sealed the victory, 25-19, and Cameroon’s players celebrated with an emotional dance.