Bitok proud of players despite defeat to Egypt

Despite losing two games against reigning Africa champions Egypt, Rwanda volleyball national team head coach Paul Bitok has praised his players for putting up a spirited performance.
Rwanda team getting to the court for the first match on Thursday. They were beaten 3-0 by the African champons. Times Sport/ Courtesy.
Rwanda team getting to the court for the first match on Thursday. They were beaten 3-0 by the African champons. Times Sport/ Courtesy.

Despite losing two games against reigning Africa champions Egypt, Rwanda volleyball national team head coach Paul Bitok has praised his players for putting up a spirited performance.

The hosts Rwanda lost to their North Africa rivals 3-0 and 3-1 in the first and second matches played on Thursday and Friday respectively at Amahoro indoor stadium court.

Egypt humiliated Rwanda in a three-set match 25-23, 28-26 and 31-29 in Thursday’s first-leg before again beating them in four sets 21-25,25-21,25-23 and 25-22 in the second game on Friday.

In the second game, Bitok’s side dominated Egypt for the first set 25-21, but Egypt came back and won three remaining sets.

In first set Rwanda led 7-5, 10-7, 15-13, 21-17, 23-21, and 24-21 and won set for 25-21, Algeria based Yakan Guma Lawrence provided good service and spikes with Bosco Mutabazi tight in defense as well as Christophe Mukunzi gave Rwanda the first set for the first time against a senior Arab team.

“We did our best, my players have done well in these two games and I am proud of how they played against the best team on the African continent,” admitted Bitok, a former Kenyan international player.

He added, “To get a set against Egypt is good sign that we can actually match the African champions and it will give our players more confidence ahead of the next competition, I hope we will make the difference.”

The tournament was supposed to attract four teams, the other two being Ethiopia and Sudan, but they both pulled out at the last minute, and their absence means that Rwanda, despite the two defeats, still qualifies for the next round, which will be held in Kigali in November.

Rwanda will be looking to make the most of home advantage when they host Zone V Championships where they will be eyeing qualification to the third and final round.

Elsewhere In Pool H, Kenya qualified for the zone five after beating Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania 3-0 respectively, Uganda beat Burundi 3-1 and Tanzania 3-0, while Burundi beat Tanzania 3-0 to determine the third team.

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