Sousse, Tunisia, March 13, 2015- Two Tunisian and two Egyptian clubs confirmed their spots in the semifinals of the 2015 Men's African Club Championship following the quarterfinal matches held at Olympic and Masaken Halls on Friday.
Defending champions Esperance of Tunisia clinched their ticket after they downed Bourj Bouaririj of Algeria 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 28-26), while their arch rivals Etoile Sportive du Sahel hammered Algerian side Setif 3-0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-14).
An Egyptian Derby was set as Ahly fought for more than two hours to overcome Zamalek in a gruelling five-set match. Record holders Ahly beat Zamalek 3-2 (23-23, 25-16, 27-29, 19-25, 17-15). The match had exciting moments after Zamalek came back from two sets behind and saved two match points in the third set to come back aggressively to clinch the next two sets. Zamalek was led by Abdelatif Othman and Costa. Then Ahly came back in the tiebreak with a tight winning advantage from clutch performances from powerful spikers Ahmed Kotb and Ahmed Hamada, and their middle blockers Mohamed Ketat and Abdelhalim.
Another Egyptian squad, Somoha, gained the reputation as the tournament’s dark horse, as they showed resilience in their stint in their first-ever participation. Somoha maintained their winning rhythm, beating Ittihad Tangier of Morocco 3-1 (25-8, 25-19, 23-25, 25-17).
Meanwhile, other quarterfinal matches for 9th to 16th, and 17th to 24th places were also held on Friday.
In the quarterfinal for 9th to 16th, Libyan clubs Swehli and Ahly Beni Ghazi, FAR of Morocco, and Kenya Prisons will vie for the 9th to 12th positions after prevailing in their respective matches, while the losing teams will settle for 13th to 16th positions.
Swehli needed two hours to defeat GSU of Kenya 3-2 (25-17, 25-17, 20-25, 20-25, 15-11), their compatriots Ahly Beni Ghazi also prevailed over Autoridade from Mozambique in another epic tiebreaker (25-22, 25-18, 22-25, 23-25, 15-19).
FAR defeated the club from Congo, Espoir in a four-set duel (25-18, 25-21, 25-27, 26-24). Kenya Prisons downed Douanes of Burkina Faso in straight sets (25-19, 25-16, 25-13).
In the quarterfinal for 17th to 24th, APR of Rwanda, FAP of Cameroon and KAVC of Uganda prevailed in straight sets over their opponents in the quarterfinal for 17th to 24th places, while Support United of Zimbabwe completed the winners’ bracket clinching the match in four sets.
APR defeated Al Nahda of Sudan 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-14), then FAP Cameroon overcame Nemostart of Uganda 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-16), while KAVC cruised past Daim Hamad of Sudan 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-16).
Support United recovered from their first set blunder against Atletico of Cape Verde to gain victory 3-1 (14-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-16).
The competition is a qualifier for the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship to be held in October in Brazil.