Seven teams to compete for African women's Olympic berth
Organisers Cameroon will be joined by powerhouses and African champions Kenya, two-time Olympians Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Uganda and Botswana. The tournament winners will qualify directly for the prestigious Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, while the second and third ranked teams will earn another opportunity to qualify through the World Olympic Qualifier to be held between May 14 and June 5 at a venue to be confirmed.
The seven teams will be divided into two preliminary pools with Pool A including three countries headed by the organisers, while Pool B will feature four teams. A drawing of lots ceremony will be held on Thursday evening at Djeuga Hotel in Yaoundé.
African giants Kenya are favourites for the Olympic spot after a fantastic year in 2015, winning the Women's African Nations Championship for the ninth time and claiming the gold medals at the All Africa Games. On the world scene, they also claimed victory in FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Group 3. Kenya have prepared at home, with their team led by outside hitter Mercy Moim and highly-rated setter Jane Wacu.
Algeria have prepared for the tournament at a training camp in Tunisia, where they have played three matches against the Tunisian national team. The Algerian squad features the return of veteran star Lydia Oulmou, who plays for French side Hainaut Volley.
Egypt will also aim to clinch the Olympic ticket after renewing their team. They have prepared in Slovenia after training sessions in Cairo over a two month period.
Hosts Cameroon are also among the favourites to claim the Olympic ticket after winning bronze at the 2015 African Nations Championship, followed by silver at the 2015 All Africa Games in the Republic of Congo. The team will compete with a very similar lineup this year.
Tunisia are making their way back to the top of women's volleyball in Africa after clinching a 2014 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship ticket by beating giants Kenya. The team's younger players like Jihen Mohamed and Ahlem Trayi will join the side's more experienced players.
Both Botswana and Uganda will be keen to demonstrate their progress in recent years and perhaps create a surprise by claiming the Olympic ticket on offer.