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2007 Women’s African Nations Championship- Kenya Wins the trophy and secured World Cup berth

Kenyan players with the trophy

Nairobi, Kenya, September 11, 2007 - The Kenyan Women’s volleyball team maintained their positions as the queens of volleyball in Africa as they won their second title in a raw and the seventh trophy as a whole when they took over the last All Africa Games gold medalists Algeria in the final of 16th Women’s African Nations Championship here at Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Nairobi- Kenya on Tuesday. Kenya secured a 2007 World Cup Berth which is their fifth consecutive African vacancy at the international competitions following their qualification to the 2002 and 2006 World Championships, 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Kenya became the first country ever to win an African cup with a record of being the only team to win all their matches without conceding a set.
The matches were attended by the Kenyan Minister of Sports Mr. Maina Kamanda, President of Kenya National Olympic Committee Dr. Kipchoge Keino, Commissioner of Sports Gordon Oluoch, Chairman of Sports Council Joshua Okuthe, K Olympic Committee secretary general FK Paul, Olympic Committee Member James Chacha, Vice Chairman of Kenya National Sports Council Nderitu Gikaria, the Algerian Ambassador in Kenya Ali Ben Zarga, Egyptian counselor in Kenya Yasser Ragab, CAVB Technical Director Mrs. Howyda Mondy, Kenya volleyball Federation President Mr. Waithaka Kioni, Kenya vice president Joseph Tanui and CC members Mr. Jacob Owiti and Mr. Salamba.

Kenya vs. Algeria
Kenya needed 77 minutes to defeat the All Africa games gold medalists Algeria in straight sets (25-23, 25-22, 25-23) to win their seventh trophy. Algeria was competitive in the first set as they led most of its actions but later on Kenya dominated the match supported by a big number of spectators while Algeria came usually at the end of each set trying to catch the result.
Algeria started the match more stable in their reception and attacks through their star Faiza Tsabet and the center Mouni Abdelrahim so they led 8-6 at the first technical time out. The Kenyan spectators pushed their players as they motivated them to come back as the center blocker Brackcides Agala played a great role in both blocking and fast spikes led by the skillful setter Janet Wanja and thus Kenya led 16-13 by the second technical time out. Algeria regained the rhythm and succeeded to draw many times until the result reached to 23-23, then Kenya scored two points of efficient attacks to win the set 25-23. the second set showed again Algerian dominance as they arranged the block of Mouni and Lydia Oloumou to lead 5-2, but Kenya again used their big gun the experienced Dorcas Ndasaba and Catherine Wanjiru to lead 12-10. The Algerian setter Fatima Oukazi led her team with the skillful combinations to all net positions which were used properly by the spikers, so Algeria came back and draw 20-20. As usual Dorcas Ndasaba used her unstoppable hits to win the most critical points and led her team to win 25-22. At the beginning of the third set, the Algerian players were not concentrating so they fell into many service mistakes and that allowed their highly motivated Kenyan players to use this to their side as they led 8-5. Kenya continued their superior performance using the strong spikers Dorcas, Catherine and Palanga so they continued leading 16-11. Algeria tried to save the match as their performance rose to the best by the end of the set when they stopped the Kenyan team at the 24th point and scored 4 successive points until the competition best player Dorcas Ndasaba scored the point that finalized the set 25-23 and the match in straight sets.
Kenya head coach Sammy Kirongo was very happy to gain the flowers of his work quickly after the depressing results in All Africa Games. He was happy also to see the new players doing well during the competition. “The match was tough today against a respected opponent because the Algerian team came to compete in each of the three sets.” Said Kirongo. “I’m happy today with the performance of Wanja who was chosen as the competition best setter and also the opposite Palanga. Now we are looking forwards to have good representation for Africa in the 2007 World Cup in Japan.” He added.
The Algerian head coach Mouloud Ikhedji referred the defeat to the over fatigue of the players after the great effort they did in All Africa Games and the African championship within less then six weeks. He also said that losing the first set affected the concentration of the players in the second and thirds sets. “I think if we won the first set we might have the trophy but generally I’m satisfied with the result.” He said.

Egypt vs. Tunisia
Tunisia won the bronze medal after defeating their compatriots Egypt 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-23) in the third place match that lasted 100 minutes. Tunisia came from one set behind and rebounded to win three successive sets after they improved their block and reception.
Egypt was the dominant side at the beginning of the match as they deployed the solid block of Ingy El Shamy who succeeded to stop many attacks from the Tunisian strong spiker Arbia Rafrafi and the opposite Nihel El Ghoul. Egypt used their good reception to build up the attacks which were managed successfully by the emerging spiker Salma Badr and the experienced Sherihan Sameh to lead 8-5. Egypt continued their superiority by the net and thus they continued leading 16-10 after a group of spikes from Ingy and Sherihan. Tunisia tried to come back to the match increasing the activity of the attackers Arbia and Hanen Ben Shabane, but Egypt returned back to the match with a good backline defense to continue leading till they won the set 25-18. the second set showed early continuation in the Egyptian attacking rhythm as Salma had many successful attacks from position 4 to allow Egypt to lead 8-7. Tunisia came to the match with the activity of the left attacker Hanen and the good work of the opposite Nihel to lead for the first time at any technical timeout 16-15. The set went point by point afterwards until the draw 23-23 when Egyptian players fell into service and spiking mistakes to allow Tunisia to win the set 25-23. The Tunisian players were more motivated in the third set especially after the main setter Asma Ben Cheikh started her combinations to the centers Massara Ben Huma and Mariem Agrebi so Tunisia led widely at the start 5-1 and continued to 8-6 by the first technical time out. The tight Tunisian backline defense led by the libero Rania Jouni allowed the Tunisian to lead again 16-10, then the Egyptian team tried at the end of the set to re arrange their attacks and improved the result from 24-17 to 24-21 but Tunisia ended the set 25-21. The fourth set showed early Egyptian leading 5-2 through the spikes of Salama and Sherihan, but later Tunisia adjusted the block to draw 5-5 and advance 8-7. The Tunisian performance rose to the top in defense as they succeeded to stop most of the Egyptian spikes to increase the point deficit to 16-12. Egypt head coach made some substitutions to save the match as he pushed the experienced Dina Assal as the Egyptian team succeeded to draw 23-23 before the Tunisian team used the unstoppable hits of Hanen and Rafrafi to end the set 25-23 and win the match3-1.
Tunisia head coach Lotfi Ben Solimane was happy to win the bronze medal after he promised his federation to reach to the semifinal. He was happy with the spirit of his team all through the match especially after losing the first set. “The only problem today is that my players lost their concentration very quickly and that allowed Egypt to be near all the time.” Lotfi said. “As a whole I ‘m satisfied with my team’s performance all through the match and especially I put my attacker Nihel who was the match scorer with 20 minutes and the attacker Hanen who did well today. I want to thank the Egyptian team for their spirit and performance all through the competition as they are as usual famous for their fighting at any time. I think my team started the match disappointed because they lost the semifinal against Algeria because they were optimistic to play the final, but after I asked them to fight for each point they returned back to the match and won three successive sets.” He added. 
The Egyptian head coach Hesham Badrawy played with a full team of young players except the middle blocker Ingy and he was sad to lose the bronze medal but happy to win this generation of players. “We made a new team during the competition and this is the most important positive thing here. I wanted to win the bronze as a good start for this group of players but generally we are satisfied in this step.” He added.

Final Ranking:
1. Kenya
2. Algeria
3. Tunisia
4. Egypt
5. Senegal
6. Cameroon
7. Botswana
8. South Africa
9. Uganda
10. Rwanda

Individual Awards:
• Most Valuable player MVP: Dorcas Ndasaba (Kenya)
• Best Scorer: Nihel Goul (Tunisia)
• Best spiker: Faiza Tsaber (Algeria)
• Best Blocker: Ingy El Shamy (Egypt)
• Best Server: Mouni Abdelrahim (Algeria)
• Best setter: Janet Wanja (Kenya)
• Best Receiver: Nawal Mansouri (Algeria)
• Best Digger: Milderd Odwako (Kenya)



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