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Egypt hit Uganda to edge closer to African Games



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It’s an open secret that Egypt came into the African Games Zone V qualifiers as favourites. The quality of this side was never in doubt once they released their final squad for the championship.

And on Tuesday, the might of the North Africans was at show at Kasarani as head coach Gido Vermeulen produced a tactical masterclass to pick his second win of the tournament with a 3-1 (25-17, 15-25, 25-14, 25-20) win over Uganda.

The victory over the East Africans means the Egyptians now sit pretty top of the standings with six points and only need a point against Kenya to secure a slot at the continental showpiece to be staged in Morocco.

With Uganda having opened a four-point gap in the fourth set and the set scores 2-1 in favour of the Egyptians, Vermeulen smelled danger and introduced setter Ahmed Saber and opposite Ahmed Elkotb for Hisham Yousri and Ahmed Fathi respectively.

“Fathi is short and they were taking advantage of that in attack. I’m happy that we made changes and they worked well for us,” said Vermeulen.

Two giant blocks from Elkotb and Ali Seoudy saw them recover from 8-4 to tie the game at 9-9. Yet another substitution from Vermeulen saw him introduce skipper Rashad Mohamed for Mohamed Adel and there was no stopping the Egyptians as they clinched the fourth set 25-20 and moved top with six points.

“We are top but the job is not yet done. Kenya has a good team and they are playing at home so they are definitely the favourites,” he said in reference to the final fame against Kenya on Wednesday.

Once again, it was tale of so near yet so far for the Ugandans who despite elevating Samuel Engwau and Dickens Otim to the first six still found themselves on the losing end.
After losing the first set 17-25, Nason Bwesigye reorganised his charges to pick the second 25-15. But a series of errors in reception and front court defence cost them eventually as the Egyptians won the next two to avoid the tie-breaker.

“I’m impressed with my team. We are the underdogs so I don’t understand why we are so overrated. We committed so many mistakes so Egypt did not really beat us. They just played better than us,” said Bwesigye.

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