Rwanda national volleyball team trainer Paul Bitok has tipped youngster Patrick Kavalo to become an established international player after wonderful display at the just concluded All Africa Games in Brazzaville where the team finished fourth, the same position as four years ago in Maputo.
Kavalo, 23, who features for local league club, INATEK, made his debut international appearance when Rwanda beat Cameroon 3-1 in a group stages match after Nelson Muragwa suffered an arm injury.
Rwanda overcame the title holders, Cameroon 3-1 (16-25, 29-27, 25-23 in and 25-21) in 115 minutes.
Rwanda reached the semi-final but lost to hosts Congo Brazzaville 3-1 before Bitok’s team lost out on third position after doing down to Egypt in a five-set thriller 3-2 (25-27, 26-24, 24-26, 25-17, 15-13) when Kavalo finished with a match-high 22 points.
“Kavalo got the opportunity for first appearance in the national team because of an injury to Nelson Murangwa, but he put on a great performance, and I think he’s going to be a great asset for the team for years to come,” Bitok said after the competition.
The former Kenyan international noted that, “It’s always good to see new players coming through every year. It’s these new talents, including Kavalo, who will take Rwanda to the next level.”
Bitok also insisted that his team would possibly have done better had they hadthe service of key players; Flavien Ndamukunda and Olivier Ntagengwa, who were competing in the beach volleyball in Brazzaville. Algeria, who won silver four years ago, improved to take gold this time round after defeating Congo 3-0 in the final—Egypt took bronze.