Okazi left football to become the best African setter
Zurich, Switzerland, May 8, 2014 - Since she was eight years old the Algerian setter Fatima Zahra Okazi was thinking of the day when she will be able to play at the highest level of her lovely sport volleyball, but she didn’t realize that when she started her career in 1992 that she will be the key factor of her team in both the World Championships and the Olympic Games and to be one of the most famous volleyball players not only in her country but in the whole continent.
Now the Algerian National team setter is looking forwards to another era when she conducts her team in the Women's Club Championship for the first time.
“From my first day with volleyball I felt that I choose the right sport for my career, I knew that it is suitable to my style and ability,” commented Okazi.
She started playing volleyball in Chlef Club which is one of the famous clubs in Algeria when she was only 10 years old.
“What was exciting that I started in my club as a spiker when I played in the first team in 1995 but quickly my coach saw that I can be a good setter so he shifted me to that position,” remembered Okazi.
“I was happy to carry a gold medal when I was only 12 y old. I remembered I returned back home and put the medal above my bed to see it every day when I wake up,” continued the young setter.
In the following year Okazi had a more exciting experience when she represented her country in the 2001 FIVB Youth World Championship. In 2002 she added gold to her country when she won the Women Junior African Nations Championship.
“I was happy to represent Algeria in the FIVB Women Junior World Championship in the Dominican Republic in 2003. At that time I felt that we had become more oriented with this world level. The Algerian federation had a good strategy to prepare the young players so in 2005 we went to Kenya for the club championship with two young teams with average age of 18 y,”
The golden era started as Algeria won another gold in their homelands in the next year when they won the African Olympic Qualification for Beijing Olympic Games to represent the continent in this prestigious event. Again Fatima was the key star in this victory. In 2009 Algeria printed their name on the senior African Nations Championship for the first time in the history when they won the title with Fatima coming as the best setter and the most valuable player.
“I was emotional when we went to Japan to play in the biggest volleyball event in the elite, the 2010 World Championship,”
In her social life, Okazi was also successful as she finished the Bachelor degree in commerce and marketing and then another diploma in the media.
She is one of five brothers and sisters in her family. She was a twin with a brother named Abozeed who choose to play Tennis.
“I like to live with my family in Algeria and that was the main cause I refused a lot of offers to play in France, Netherlands and Poland. My family is the essential corner of my life so I had to complete my life between them.”