NAIROBI, Kenya, February 21- The 2014 FIVB World Cup Africa qualifiers in Nairobi reach their business end on Saturday when hosts Kenya and Tunisia clash to decide which team will become the first to represent the continent in Italy.
Both teams are tied on 12 points after winning four of their Pool U fixtures thus far but Kenya is leading the round robin standings with a superior sets ratio of 1.66 against 1.47.
The two teams return to Nairobi’s Safaricom Indoor Stadium venue exactly six months after they clashed in the African Cup of Nations last September where the host prevailed in straight sets to win their eighth continental title before home fans.
Kenya coach David Lung’aho is confident his flamboyant girls would do a repeat performance and defeat the ambitious North Africans again.
“We have played against Tunisia many times and they have never beaten me, I don’t want this to be the first time,” he told journalists during press conference after Kenya beat Seychelles 3-0 sets to record their fourth straight victory.
Lungaho who is one of the longest serving national teams’ coaches in Africa has retained the same squad that defeated Tunisia in their last meeting.
They include Captain Bracksides Khadambi, Mercy Moim, Jane Wacu, Everline Makuto, Elizabeth Nafula, Ruth Jepng’etich, Janet Wanja and Diana Khisa.
Centre Joan Chelagat is the only new face in Lungaho team that is seeking its sixth appearance at the World Championships.
Lung’aho hopes that his powerful attacker Moim, who was named MVP during the last African Cup of Nations, would overcome the grief of losing her mother and help her nation qualify for the worlds.
“Moim wants to see Kenya qualify for the World Championships and she has assured that she would be with us on Saturday,” he added.
Moim’s mother passed on one day before Kenya met Seychelles in their fourth match of the tournament on Thursday but she braved the tragedy to play a starring role in their victory.
Unlike the Kenyan squad that remains unchanged, Tunisia coach Messelimani Mohammed has left out star players who were in Nairobi last August.
They include outside hitter Nihel Ghoul and setter Maroua Brahoum who starred for the team during the African Cup of Nations.
Mohamed said: “The match between Tunisia and Kenya will be very tough considering that a world ticket is on offer.
“The Kenyan team is strong but my players are ready to play their hearts out. The four wins they have recorded have improved their confidence although they played against modest opposition.”
Mozambique will be seeking their first victory of the tournament when they take on Seychelles in the first match of the day at 12pm local time (+3GMT).
Uganda who have two victories, face Senegal in the second match of the final day that would be broadcast live on Zuku Sports Channel 300 HD.
The last match between Kenya and Tunisia will also be live on the television station.
Points Played Won Lost
Ken 12 4 4 0
Tun 12 4 4 0
Sen 6 2 2 2
Uga 5 4 2 2
Sey 1 0 4 1
Moz 0 0 4 1
DAY ONE (FEB 16)
Mozambique 0 Tunisia 3 (11-25, 12-25, 14-25)
Kenya 3 Uganda 0 (25-16, 25-10, 25-14)
Senegal 3 Seychelles 1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-18, 25-22)
DAY TWO (FEB 17)
Uga 3 Sey 2 (19-25, 22-25, 25-17, 25-17, 15-12)
Sen 1 Tun 3 (17-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-25)
Ken 3 Moz 0 (25-12, 25-9, 25-19)
DAY THREE (FEB 18)
DAY FOUR (FEB 19)
Moz 1 Uga 3 (19-25, 18-25, 25-23, 15-25)
Sey 0 Tun 3 (22-25, 20-25, 19-25)
Sen 1 Ken 3 (19-25, 12-25, 25-17, 11-25)
DAY FIVE (FEB 20)
Uga 0 v Tun 3 (14-25, 8-25, 19-25)
Moz 0 v Sen 3 (13-25, 14-25, 14-25)
Ken 3 v Sey 0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-11)
DAY SIX (FEB 21)
DAY SEVEN (FEB 22)
12pm: Sey v Moz
2pm: Sen v Uga
4pm: Tun v Ken
Team with most wins qualifies for 2014 World Championships to be played in Italy September 23 to October 12, 2014.