Rwanda wary of New Zealand in beach volleyball opener

Rwanda sees New Zealand as the main group challengers in the women’s beach volleyball competition at the forthcoming XXI Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia from April 4 to 15.
Rwandan beach volleyball queens Mutatsimpundu (left) and Nzayisenga are ranked 332nd in FIVB Women’s World ranking. File.
Rwandan beach volleyball queens Mutatsimpundu (left) and Nzayisenga are ranked 332nd in FIVB Women’s World ranking. File.

April 6
New Zealand Vs Rwanda
April 8
Vanuatu Vs Rwanda
April 9
Singapore Vs Rwanda

Rwanda sees New Zealand as the main group challengers in the women’s beach volleyball competition at the forthcoming XXI Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia from April 4 to 15.

However, head coach Christopher Mudahinyuka, speaking to Times Sport on Wednesday, admitted that, “we won’t take any chances by underestimating any opponent.”

Rwanda will be the sole African nation among the 12 national teams vying for honors in women’s beach volleyball. Beach Volleyball is a new discipline in Commonwealth Games.

The Rwandan duo of Denise Mutatsimpundu and Charlotte Nzayisenga booked their ticket to the XXI Commonwealth Games after beating Nigeria in the final of African Championships staged in Sierra Leone last October.

At the two-week long international multi-discipline competition, Rwanda have been drawn in Group C alongside favourites New Zealand, Singapore and Vanuatu. Mudahinyuka’s ladies will have to finish in the top two to secure a spot in quarter-finals.

A confident Mudahinyuka says he anticipates stiff competition in Australia and has prepared his girls accordingly, stressing that the main target is to “advance from the group stage.”

“We are having good preparations, the girls are in good form and ready for the competition. Our major target is to reach the quarter-finals, and from that stage, we can focus on each game as it comes,” Mudahinyuka said.

Asked who he thinks is Rwanda’s main challengers, the head coach noted, “All the teams in Commonwealth Games have fought so hard to be there, and there is no one to underestimate; however, New Zealand are the team to worry about most in our group.”

While the Nzayisenga and Mutatsimpundu pair is ranked 332nd in FIVB Women’s World ranking released on March 19, New Zealand has two teams in top 100 – Shaunna Polley and Kelsie Wills in the 46th position as well as Julia Tilley and Alice Bain in the 70th place.

The Rwandan duo will begin their campaign against New Zealand on April 6 before taking on Vanuatu on April 8 and wrapping up the group stages with a clash against Singapore the following day.

Group A comprises of hosts Australia, Scotland, Grenada and Cyprus: Group B has Canada, England, Trinidad and Tobago as well as Fiji.

Nzayisenga and Mutatsimpundu have been in training since February 12 and will depart for Australia on March 24 alongside the rest of Rwandan delegation. In addition to women beach volleyball, Rwanda will field athletes in cycling, athletics and powerlifting.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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