RWANDA men’s volleyball team were denied a place in the 2014 World Championship finals in Poland by hosts Cameroon who snatched the only qualification ticket in Pool T of the African qualifying tournament which climaxed at Palais des Sports in Yaoundé, Cameroon on Monday.
With Paul Bitok’s team finishing their matches with a win-loss ratio of 3-1 to bag 9 points, their only qualification hope was for Cameroon to win their match against Gabon 3-2 and Algeria to do the same against Nigeria.
However, their hopes were shattered when Cameroon hammered Gabon 3-0 (25-11, 25-14, 25-17) in a match dominated by the winners. Sem Dolengombai was Cameroon’s top scorer with 13 points, while Dan J’ Mateya led Gabon with eight.
Cameroon finished the five-nation round robin tournament with a win-loss ratio of 3-1 - to gain nine points and equal Algeria and Rwanda with the same win-loss ratio and total points - but then overwhelmed the set quotient 10-4 ahead of Algeria, who came second with 9-4 quotient and Rwanda who came third with 9-6.
This is the third qualification ticket for the west African country after 1990 and 2010, with their best result being in the last edition when they finished 13th after getting through the first round.
Algeria clinched their last win against Nigeria in a thriller 3-1 (25-17, 25-14, 21-25, 25-15). As usual, Algeria’s opposite spiker Toufik Mahjoubi led his team and match scorers with 23 points, while Mathew E’ejeh scored 17 as Nigeria’s best scorer.
Rwanda finished third p after beating Nigeria 3-1 (25-23, 25-16, 21-25, 25-17), Gabon 3-1 (25-15, 25-19, 24-26, 25-17), Cameroon 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 25-17) and the first day loss to Algeria 3-0 (25-23, 25-12, 25-18 cost them dearly in making a maiden appearance at the global showpiece.
Cameroon joins Egypt to make a pair of the African countries which have qualified for the premier FIVB men’s volleyball event. One more ticket is still on the line for Pool Y countries-Tunisia, Seychelles, Congo, Senegal and Nigeria whose competition begins on March 2 to March 8.