Rwanda volleyball team faces a daunting task against Algeria in the opening match of the 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championships qualifiers this afternoon in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
The World Championships are slated for August 30 to September 21 in Poland.
Rwanda qualified for the final round after finishing as first runners-up, behind Egypt in Zone V Championships held in Kigali late last year. Paul Bitok’s team beat Uganda, Kenya and Burundi but lost to Egypt.
Kenya qualified as second runners-up but failed to beat Egypt at home last weekend in their final qualifying round in Pool U, which saw the reigning Africa champions qualify for the World Championships for the 8th time.
In Pool T, Rwanda need to beat Algeria in the first game and hosts Cameroon tomorrow if they are to book the ticket to the world championships for the first time in senior national team’s history.
For a country to qualify for the World Cup, it must top its respective final qualification round. If the senior team qualifies, it will be following in footsteps of the U21 men, U23 Beach Volleyball (men and women) and U19 boys that competed in world championships last year.
The team left for Cameroon on Tuesday and head coach Bitok is optimistic ahead of the crunch game.
“We have had good preparations; we are going to do our best to represent our country,” Bitok said before adding:
“We know that we are not favourites, so this might play in our favour as our opponents might underestimate us.”
Bitok said he is aware they are facing a very good Algeria team in the first game but was quick to add “we are good too, and fortunately not many teams know about us, so we could pull off a surprise.”
In Pool U Egypt Men’s volleyball team claimed one of the three tickets reserved for Africa in the 2014 FIVB World Championships.
Tunisia will host the Pool V from March 3-7 in which they will battle it out against Seychelles, Congo Brazzaville, Senegal and Niger.
Rwanda’s probable starting team:
Herve Kagimbura (setter), Pierre Kwizera Marshal (center), Christophe Mukunzi ‘Giba’ (right attacker), Fravien Ndamukunda (right attacker), Theodore Thiambo Muyango (center) left attacker’s Lawrence Yakan Guma and libero is Bosco Mbonyijuru Mutabazi.