Algeria won their second match yesterday to mount pressure on hosts Kenya as the Malta Guinness sponsored Africa Cup of Nations women’s volleyball tournament enters the crucial stage at the Kasarani gymnasium.
The All Africa Games champions are now patched on the second slot in Pool ‘A’, behind Kenya who have a better-set ratio, while Cameroon are third. Rwanda and Uganda are fourth and fifth. Only two top teams qualify for the last four stage.
Algeria 3 Botswana 0
Algeria signalled their intentions clear as they maintained their winning streak by dismissing rivals Botswana in straight 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-18) in a match that was temporarily stopped for 20 minutes due to a black out. Power failure is not new in the tournament as it has thrice hit the event, leaving organisers at pains to explain the reasons behind it to Confederation of African Volleyball officials, who noted that it affects the schedule. It took only 19 minutes for Algeria to claim the first set as top attacker Faiza Tsabet worked extra hard to break the resilient Botswana blocks. Algeria held on strongly, dictating the pace in all departments to win the set 25-17.
Efforts by Botswana to salvage something in the second set were unsuccessful as the well-marshaled backline of Algeria picked up all their strikes. Lydia Oulmou and Zohra Bensalem were in inspired form as the North Africans claimed the set 25-21.
Botswana coach, Carlos Orta Fellove made a few substitutions, bringing in Mashaole Gabaresepe and Nkele Dipolelo for Tebego Sejewe and Botshelo Kgogobi, but the move did little to sway the Algerians as they went on to win the third set 25-18.
Egypt 3 South Africa 0
The battle for the semi-final berths gained momentum in Pool ‘B’ as favourites Egypt displayed a sterling performance to dismiss South Africa 3-0 to record their second win of the tournament. The Pharoahs were in a class of their own, as they tore into their rivals, easily taking all the three sets.
South Africa started strongly, holding out the Egyptians, but ran out of steam and were cought up at 14-14. South Africans lost their tempo though, with Sherihan Abd El Fatah destroying their defence to win 25-14. Egypt upped their game in the second set, leaving no room for mistakes to win the set 25-17.
South Africa made frantic efforts to salvage a set by making numerous substitutions, but that didn’t help. The Pharaohs finished off the job winning 25-9.