AFTER a narrow miss for a place at the 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championships, head coach Paul Bitok has praised the Rwandan team for putting up a spirited fight.
Bitok’s team finished third in the five-nation Pool T after winning three of their four matches at the final qualifying round, which was held in Cameroon last week. Algeria was second, while Nigeria and Gabon finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Hosts Cameroon won the week-long tournament to become the second African team, after Egypt, to qualify for World Championships. African champions Egypt were the first team to book their ticket to Poland after dominating their group, which played in Kenya two weeks ago.
Rwanda gave away a set against Gabon and Nigeria, and failed to win a set in the match against Algeria, which cost them a place to compete in the world’s biggest volleyball tournament.
Nonetheless, Bitok is still proud of his players, who he says gave their best, “We did our best and the players deserved credit for putting up spirited performances in every match.”
“Unfortunately, our best wasn’t good enough to see us through to the world championships, but we will continue to work hard for future competitions. This has been a very good learning curve for the whole team,” the Kenyan trainer explained.
He added, “We wanted to qualify but we failed, not because we didn’t try much but the opposition were better, we can’t have too many complaints since we played against some of the best teams in Africa like Algeria and Cameroon.”
In four matches, Rwanda beat Gabon, Cameroon and Nigeria 3-1 respectively but lost 3-0 against Algeria.
Cameroon finished the 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.
However, the West Africans had a superior set quotient of 10-4 ahead of Algeria with 9-4 quotient and Rwanda with 9-6.
Attention turns to Pool V which will be held in Tunisia starting this weekend for the battle of the one remaining slot. Other teams in the group are; Seychelles, Congo Brazzaville, Senegal and Niger.