RWANDA’s under-20 women volleyball team became the first African team to secure a ticket for the 2019 FIVB World Championship on Friday night after eased past Cameroon in four sets to storm to the final of the 2018 Africa Women’s U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.
While Rwanda is taking part in the African championships for the first time, next year will also be the first time that a Rwandan women’s volleyball team competes in world championships.
The host nation for the next world championships is yet to be revealed.
In front of a half-filled Kasarani indoor stadium, and a cheering bunch of the Rwandan diaspora fans, Rwanda took a closely contested first set 28-26 but Cameroon quickly bounced back to win the second set 25-23.
After losing the second set, Christophe Mudahinyuka’s ladies turned tables to claim the next two sets 25-21 25-20 and seal a slot in Sunday’s final against reigning champions Egypt.
“I can’t believe this, none of us actually believed it. Everyone thought Cameroon would sweep us very easily, but, my girls refused to let that inside our heads. We are Rwandans, we always fight to the last minute, and that’s exactly the attitude we displayed tonight,” Rwanda head coach Mudahinyuka told Saturday Sport in a telephone interview after the victory.
Egyptians saw off Nigeria in the second semi-final in effortless straight sets; 25-7, 25-11 and 25-8.
Rwanda progressed to the semi-finals after finishing second in Group B with 7 points, five adrift of group leaders Egypt. Cameroon had reached the last four after topping Group A.