Tunisia coach: 'My players are ready to play their hearts out'
Nairobi, Kenya, February 21, 2014 – Africa will know the first of its two teams to represent the continent in the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championships 2014 Italy, after Kenya play Tunisia in the African Qualifiers Pool “U” deciding match at Moi International Sports Center Nairobi on Saturday.
Kenya and Tunisia are tied with 12 points, after each team won its four opening matches in the round-robin tournament, which featured six teams. Kenya, however, slightly edges Tunisia with superior sets ratio of 1.66 versus Tunisia’s 1.47.
The winner of the deciding match will claim one of the two tickets reserved for Africa at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championships, which will be held in Italy from Sept. 23 to Oct. 12, 2014.
Saturday’s matchup sees ghe two teams returning to the venue exactly six months after they clashed in the African Cup of Nations in September, where Kenya defeated Tunisia in straight sets to win their eighth continental title.
Kenyan coach David Lungaho is confident that his flamboyant girls will repeat the performance and defeat the ambitious North Africans again.
"We have played against Tunisia many times and they have never beaten me,“ Lungaho said. „I don't want this to be the first time.“ "
Lungaho, who is one of the longest serving national teams’ coaches in Africa, has retained the same squad that defeated Tunisia in their last meeting. They include Captain Bracksides Khadambi, Mercy Moim, Jane Wacu, Everline Makuto, Elizabeth Nafula, Ruh Jepngetich, Janet Wanja and Diana Khisa. Centre Joan Chelagat is the only new face in Lungaho team that is seeking its sixth appearance at the FIVB Women’s World Championship.
Lungaho hopes that his powerful attacker Moim, who was named MVP during the last African Cup of Nations will overcome the grief of losing her mother and help Kenya qualify for the FIVB Women’s World Championship. Moim's mother passed on one day before Kenya met Seychelles in their fourth match of the tournament on Thursday. She managed to play against Seychelles.
"Moim wants to see Kenya qualify for the World Championships and she has assured that she would be with us on Saturday," he said.
Unlike the Kenyan squad that remains unchanged, Tunisia coach Messelimani Mohammed has left out star players who were in Nairobi last August.
They include outside hitter Nihel Ghoul and setter Maroua Brahoum who starred for the team during the African Cup of Nations.
"The match between Tunisia and Kenya will be very tough considering that a world ticket is on offer,“ Mohamed said. "The Kenyan team is strong, but my players are ready to play their hearts out. The four wins they have recorded have improved their confidence although they played against modest opposition."
Mozambique will seek their first victory of the tournament when they take on Seychelles in the first match of the day at 12pm. Uganda, which has two victories, face Senegal in the second match of the final day that will be broadcast live on Zuku Sports Channel 300 HD. The last match between Kenya and Tunisia will also be live on the television station.
Day 1 Feb 16
Day 2 Feb 17
Day 3 Feb 19
Day 4 Feb 20
Day 5 Feb 22
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