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Kenya and Botswana claim resounding victories at Men's World Championships Qualifier

Kenya team won their first match against Cape Verde at Pool U Men's African qualifier

Nairobi, Kenya, February 6, 2014 – The men’s volleyball teams of Kenya and Botswana started their campaign with victories in Pool U of the African qualifying tournament for the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Poland 2014, clinching wins against Cape Verde and Zambia respectively.

Africa has begun the process to select the three teams that will represent the continent at the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championships Poland 2014 with the first qualification tournament beginning in Nairobi on Wednesday. Kenya and Botswana won their respective opening matches on the first day of the qualifiers played at the Moi International Sports Center.

Kenya defeated newcomers Cape Verde 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-14) in their first match of Pool U at the Safaricom Indoor Arena. In the first match of the day, Botswana defeated Zambia in straight sets 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-11) beginning the tournament in the manner in which they intend to finish.

The winners of the five-nation tournament will earn one of the three tickets reserved for Africa in the World Championships to be played in Poland from August 30 to September 21, 2014.

Kenya v Cape Verde 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-14)

The Kenyan team, playing before a raucous crowd conceded the first point of the match when a determined Cape Verde side took a 1-0 lead. Kenya’s experienced attacker Bernard Musumba hit back with a rocket attack to bring the scores to 1-1. Cape Verde tried to come back through the attacks of Helio Sanchez, Lopez Americo and Reis Valdir but their attempts at the net hardly penetrated the defense of Kenyan team which played well to take an 8-3 advantage at the first technical time out. The hosts attacked from all positions to take the set 25-14.

The second set was closely contested after Cape Verde gained the first point to take 1-0 lead. Maiyo’s attack as well as double blocks by Wafula and Mokua  helped bring  the scores to 3-2 before the hosts raced ahead to take a narrow 8-6 advantage. The combination of Makiso, Rono, Musumba and Maiyo at the net and setter Elisha Aliwa brought the set to a spectacular 25-17 end. 

Cape Verde were outstanding at the beginning of the third set when they raced to take an 8-6 lead at the first technical time out. But the team could not withstand the force of the hard hitting hosts who went ahead to take a 6-11 lead before claiming the set 25-14.

Kenyan coach Gideon Chenje said, "It was important for us to win the opening match because the victory has given us more strength and raised the confidence level among my players. We made few mistakes like net serves but we'll correct what we didn't do well before our next match against Egypt." Host captain Maiyo said, "We're happy to win the first match because we'll go into the next fixture (against Egypt) a highly motivated side."

Botswana v Zambia 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-11)

Botswana defeated Zambia in straight sets 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-11). The match started on an equal footing with both teams keeping the scores close in the opening minutes of the first set. But Botswana had the upper hand at both official technical time outs, leading 8-4 and 16-12.  Zambia tried to close the gap bringing the scores to 17-15 but Botswana maintained the lead to claim the first set 25-19.

Zambia’s performance dropped as the match progressed and Botswana used the chance to score some quick points to win the second set 25-17.

Zambian coach Peter Kombaniya said, "I think the facility intimidated my players. We've played many friendly matches against Botswana and I expected them to do well. The absence of my two players (Chilolo Bbalo and Paul Mwale) who remained home due to academic engagements may have affected the team. I have to fight to win the next matches and maintain a place in the qualifiers."

The winning coach Manuel Torres said, "This is the first time we're playing in such big tournament. We're happy that we won our first match. Our reception was not perfect and we hope to improve as we go into the next match." Botswana captain Shadrack Kapeko said that winning the first match was very good because the victory would motivate the players as the move on to play Cape Verde. "Cape Verde is no easy team and I hope my colleagues would put in more efforts to win the match," he said.

Day 1 results
Kenya v Cape Verde 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 25-15)
Botswana v Zambia 3-0 (25-19, 25-12, 25-11)

Day 2 Fixtures (Friday- Feb. 7, 2014)
14:00: Cape Verde v Zambia
16:00: Egypt v Kenya

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