What you need to know:
- A battle that started at exactly 10.20pm EAT lasted two hours and some 20 more minutes but at the end of it all, there was only one winner - the underdogs, Kenya
- The scoreline read 3-2 (19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 18-25, 15-12) and what an anti-climax to an epic volleyball contest that had all the ingredients of a final or perhaps a "David vs Goliath" anecdote written all over it
- Tarus and his boys can be allowed to celebrate this win long into the night but the war is yet to be won
Even before the ball landed outside the court, the men in black were already celebrating in their hearts.
But once it landed, everybody with Kenyan blood running through his veins could not help but celebrate. From the players, technical bench, team officials and the volleyball fraternity back home that defied the allure of midnight sleep to stay awake and cheer Wafalme Stars from the comfort of their phones, laptops and TV screens.
Everybody was up celebrating and it was for good measure. A battle that started at exactly 10.20pm EAT lasted two hours and some 20 more minutes but at the end of it all, there was only one winner - the underdogs, Kenya.
The scoreline read 3-2 (19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 18-25, 15-12) and what an anti-climax to an epic volleyball contest that had all the ingredients of a final or perhaps a "David vs Goliath" anecdote written all over it.
That a long service was all that decided this encounter in the nervy tie-breaker didn't tell the tale of how big the occasion was especially for the Kenyans led by the unplayable Enock Mogeni making his debut for the national team.
The skipper didn't start the game with coach Gideon Tarus opting for the youngster Peter Kamara at opposite. Brian Melly started ahead of the experienced Daniel Kiptoo as first choice setter with Cornelius Kiplagat, Simon Kipkorir, Dennis Omollo and Levis Ouma completing the first six. Sam Juma and Noah Bett shared the libero duties with the former in charge of service-reception and the latter digging.
Egypt, on the other hand, were without Ahmed Abdelhay, fondly referred to as Salah (no relation to the Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah), long-serving setter Abdallah Abdelsalam, veteran middle blocker Rashad Ati but there was Ahmed Shafik, Hisham Ewais and Abdelrahman Seoudy to offer guidance to this fairly young Egyptian side.
As expected, the Pharaohs started strongly winning the first set but as soon as Mogeni stepped on court, the tide changed.
Melly made the right decisions, his combination with Ouma and Kipkorir through the middle clearly deserving a chapter in setting manuals at FIVB's Technical Centre. That Kenya arrived in the land of thousand hills as underdogs wasn't in doubt but their performance in the second and third sets shook the status quo as they swept away the Egyptians with bemusing ease.
Clearly, there were no mountains or rather hills to climb. Juma, Kiplagat and Omollo enjoyed receiving every service that came their way, Mogeni was unstoppable both at the front and back row while Ouma and Kipkorir blocked as well as they spiked.
Like an well-oiled machine, Kenya cruised to the fourth set in full control of this game. Mogeni's super spike that left Egypt's libero tumbling on the floor only served to assert the East Africans' dominance.
Even though Tarus will be worried by the manner his charges withered in the fourth set, the reply in the decisive fifth was fantastic. As soon as Kenya opened a two-point lead, they never looked back and made full use of this opportunity to announce themselves as an emerging force in men's African volleyball.
A game of side-outs ensued and when unforced errors happened, it's the men in red who were culpable. It was such a night in Kigali where the big boys Egypt cracked under pressure from the hungry Kenyans who now sit second in Group "D" behind leaders Morocco who thrashed Tanzania in straight sets earlier at the same venue.
Back in Kenya, the win felt like three points in the bag even though they were actually two. This upset now leaves the group wide open with Kenya now having a spring in their step to carry them in this tournament.
As lights went out in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, the party had just begun in Kigali. Tarus and his boys can be allowed to celebrate this win long into the night but the war is yet to be won.
One battle is done, two to go. Just how far can the Wafalme Stars reach?