Rwanda’s men’s volleyball team has been placed in Pool ‘D’ alongside Morocco, Senegal and Gambia in the 2023 Men’s African Nations Volleyball Championship which is underway in Cairo, Egypt from September 3-14.
Organized by the African Volleyball Confederation (CAVB), the continental volleyball tournament, which is in its 24th edition, takes place every two years with African elite nations fighting for the prestigious trophy.
Rwanda start their campaign against Morocco Monday at 16:00 Kigali Time looking to avoid the 3-0 deficit to the Northern African country in the buildup game.
Egypt started the tournament brightly with a comfortable 25-8, 25-9, 25-11 victory over Burundi on Sunday.
Reacting on the draw, Rwanda coach Paulo De Tarso expressed his confidence that his side can overcome the group stages and qualify for the quarterfinals.
“It has been a long time since we last competed in a major competition, but we have a good team, which is capable of qualifying for the knockout stages. Our opponents are very tough but it is a task we have to face without fear, I am quite confident we can beat them,” De Tarso said.
“We have trained well and I believe we are ready for the competition and if we qualify, we will be even much better—our opponents will offer a tricky test, but we have to stay focused on what we know we can produce on court, we must be ready not only physically but also mentally.”
The top four teams in each pool will then proceed to the knock-out stages with the top-placed pool A side playing the fourth-placed pool B team and vice versa. The second-place finishers face the third-placed team in a similar set-up.
Rwanda is targeting a place in the second round (semifinals), having previously achieved the same feat in the U19, U21, and All Africa Games.
The Men’s African Nations Volleyball Championship was supposed to take place on October 20-30 in Egypt but the Africa Volleyball Governing body brought it early in September. The tournament will also serve as the Paris 2024 Games qualifiers.
Rwanda finished sixth during the 2021 edition of the continental volleyball showpiece in Kigali and Paulo De Tarso will be looking to build a strong team ready to improve their performance and challenge for the top places or even the championship during the 2023 edition.
Rwanda will be looking to improve its performance and move to the world ranking as Rwanda stands in 84th place with 25 points in the ranking led by Poland with 407 points.
Group A: Egypt, Burundi and Algeria,
Group B: Tunisia, Mali, Tchad and Tanzania
Group C: Cameroon, Kenya, Ghana and Libya.
Group D: Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal and Gambia
Source : New Times