Nairobi, Kenya, February 22, 2014 – Tunisia secured their third FIVB World Championships ticket after they defeated Kenya 3-2 (25-21, 24-26, 15-25, 28-26, 15-10) in decisive African Pool “U” qualification tournament at Moi International Sports Centre in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday.
Tunisia completed the tournament with win-loss ratio of 5-0 while Kenya dropped to 4-1.
Tunisia shocked Kenya when they gained the first point of the set, but Maissa Lengliz hit the net to give the home team their first point. A wide serve by Tunisia and successful blocks by Makuto and and Agala handed the home team two more points to take 3-1 lead.
Tunisia’s powerful attackers Kaouther Jemaii and Barhoumi Marwa were outstanding in attack as they gained points to propel their team to a 6-5 and 8-7 advantage at the first technical time out.
Inaccurate serving cost Kenya at least two points before the first official break. Mercy Moim’s spike from the centre helped Kenya to level the scores 8-8, but Jemaii crasher put Kenya ahead with one point advantage.
Tunisia gained a service ace that extended their lead to 12-9 forcing Kenyan coach to call time out. Tunisia’s combination of Messera Hlima, Fatma Agreb and Kaouther were outstanding in the attack with successful blocks and attacks. Kenya’s reception was wanting as Tunisia raced to 15-12 lead and went on to maintain their lead, taking 16-13 advantage at the second break.
Kenya improved their attacks through Ruth Jepleting and Moim to narrow the gap to one point at 19-18. Lungaho introduced Wanja in place of Wacu at 21-20 in favour of Tunisia. Tunisia maintained tempo to win the set 25-21.
Inspired by first set victory, Tunisia started the second set with more firepower, penetrating Kenya’s porous blocks to score points and take 8-7 lead at the time out.
But the hosts, cheered on by the capacity crowd, gained a narrow 16-15 lead at the second time out. Tension gripped Kenya’s team as Tunisia closed the gap to 22-21 but a blockbuster by Makuto on the left allowed the home team to regain a two-point lead at 23-21 before cruising to 26-24 set victory.
The third set started on cracking note with both team fighting to gain control of the match. Tunisia’s controversial player Kaouther was shown a red card for arguing with referee number one of Cameroon. The red card followed a yellow that Kaouther had been given in the second set over the same argument. As the red card in volleyball applies to all team members, it meant that any player who misbehaves in the affected side is sent out. A charged Kenyan team did not waste time as they went ahead to open commanding 22-13 lead before bagged the set 25-15.
Tunisia raced to an 8-4 lead in the fourth set and opened four points gap at 12-8 before assuming 16-9 advantage, the difference that silenced the home crowd. Tunisia dominated the proceedings taking 17-12 lead before the home girls fought gallantly to narrow the gap to 19-18. The teams tied at 20-20 before Kenya rushed to one point lead at 21-20. Thereafter the set turned into a one-point game before Tunisia took the set 28-26.
Tunisia continued their superb performance to win the tiebreak 15-10 and the ticket to the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014.
In the second match of the day, Senegal rallied from one set down to defeat Uganda 3-1 (19-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-22) in a thrilling match to bring their win-loss record to 3-2 and finish the qualifiers in third position.
The first few minutes of play saw both teams exchange leads at the some point tying at 5-5 before Uganda’s Eunice Amuron powerful attack saw the neighbors open a one-point lead at the first technical time out, to lead 8-7. Uganda picked up from where they left, thanks to good combination of Eunice Nuwabiga, Astreede Agaaba. Moreen Mwamula also picked quick points thanks to Agaabas’s powerful attacks to open a four-point lead at 22-8. After a few minutes, Uganda was ahead of Senegal.
To wrap up the Pool U qualifiers, Seychelles shrugged off stiff challenge from rejuvenated Mozambique to win the match 3-2 (24-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 15-13) and bring their win loss record to 1-4 and finish in position five.
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