Rwanda men’s volleyball team has qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations that will be held in Cairo, Egypt from October 16-22.
Paul Bitok’s men qualified with one match still to play against Kenya, which was due to be played on Monday evening.
Rwanda booked their ticket after winning the second game against Uganda 3-1 in the FIVB Africa Zone Championships that ended last evening at Amahoro Indoor Stadium.
The continental event will also act as the final qualification round for the 2018 FIVB World Championships that will be held in Japan from September 30 to October 21. Only the top two teams in Egypt will earn the ticket to represent Africa.
On Sunday evening, hosts Rwanda defeated Uganda 3-1 (25-23, 25-17, 19-25 and 25-21), after both teams had won their opening matches against South Sudan and Kenya respectively on Saturday.
Rwanda came from four points behind to win the first set 25-23 and went on to easily take the second 25-17, thanks to the hard work from Flavien Ndamukunda, who provided excellent serves. Fred Musoni on the block as well as Laurence Yakan, Christophe Mukunzi and Placid Sibomana also proved pivotal in the game.
Uganda fought back to win the third set 25-19 before Rwanda upped their game to claim the fourth set 25-21.
“I’m happy to see many young players on the team that have made tremendous progress, but we need to keep working to make them better for the future. Today, it was about managing the last points and keeping concentration until the end,” Bitok said.
Rwanda won the first match against tournament debutants South Sudan 3-0 (25-18, 25-13 and 25-17). Elsewhere on Sunday, Kenya beat South Sudan 3-0 (25-17, 25-16 and 25-15).
Bitok’s team is likely to be joined by Uganda, who were scheduled to face winless South Sudan by press time and were expected to win, while victory for Kenya against Rwanda would mean that all three teams finish with two wins and the top two teams could be decided on other grounds.