CAIRO, Egypt- The National Men’s Volleyball Team was bundled out of the African Nations Championship after suffering a 0-3 loss at the hands of Tunisia in their second Pool B match played on Monday evening at the Cairo Stadium Indoor Halls Complex.
The Mfalme Strikers, who had suffered a similar defeat in their opening match against Ghana (16-25, 24-26, 16-25), will now play for pride when they face Libya in their last match.
Head coach Moses Epoloto was hopeful that his team would turn their poor start around in the Championships, but the eight-time African champions proved their might with victory in straight sets (25-16, 25-19, 25-22) to book a palace in the last eight.
“We only had one way out from the group and that was outsmarting Tunisia in order to have a chance of qualifying. That didn’t happen meaning our chances are up in smoke,” Epoloto admitted.
“Technically we are out of the race for the world championships. We lost concentration in the match against Ghana and in most cases after such a poor result it is never easy to comeback,” he added.
In another pool B match, dark horses Libya for the second time in a row needed a tie-breaker this time to beat Ghana 3-2 (25-22, 21-25, 23-25, 25-16 and 15-10) to enhance their chances of reaching the quarter-finals alongside favourites Tunisia.
On Sunday, Tunisia survived a Libyan nightmare in an epic tie-breaker. Tunisia rebounded back from a set behind (1-2) to down their opponents 3-2 (25-19, 20-25, 20-25, 25-15, 15-7).
With two rounds of matches played, Tunisia top the group with five points, followed by Ghana (4) while Libya have 3. Kenya, who are yet to pick a point, are bottom of the group.
The top two teams from the four pools in the championship will proceed to the quarter finals.
The 2017 Men’s African championship doubles up as the 2018 World Championship qualifiers where the top three African teams book their tickets to represent Africa in the prestigious FIVB championship.