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Kenya eyes Zone Five volleyball ticket for Worlds

24 July 2013, 18:05 John Kwoba

Nairobi - Six countries have confirmed participation in the Africa Zone Five World Championships women qualifiers, which starts in Nairobi on Friday.

Giants Egypt and Kenya are expected to emerge atop in the tournament, but that will be without some bruising battle against upcoming Ethiopia and Burundi.

The men tournament, which starts Wednesday in Kampala, has seven teams battling it out. Top two teams in both men and women tournaments will play in the Africa finals in September.

"We have all arrangements complete to stage the tournament in Nairobi. It is important Kenya win and move on to clinch the Africa title so that we can continue our learning progress at the World Championships," Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) Chairman Waithaka Kioni said on Tuesday.

Kenya has been in the last four of the five World Championships. Kenya's women head coach David Lung'aho, will be eyeing to be second time lucky to secure the ticket to the World Championships, which will be held in Italy next year.

On the other side, Gideon Chenje, who is in charge of the men team, wants to break the jinx and clinch the single ticket for Africa teams at the biggest stage in the sport, which will be held in Warsaw, Poland.

"We have the experience of playing at the international level. But the other teams in the region have been narrowing the gap and it will be hard for Kenyan players to expect to pick the Africa berth without a fight," said Lung'aho, Tuesday in Nairobi.

Kioni said the qualification campaign will be in three phases. The first will be on regional level, where the winner will proceed to the second round, at zone stage.

Winners of the zones will clash in the final round where the champion will represent Africa in Italy (women) and Poland (men).

The World Cup will feature 24 teams. One place was allocated to the hosts, Poland and Italy, but no automatic place is given to the defending champions, Brazil (men) and Italy (women).

The remaining 23 places will be determined by a qualification process, in which entrants from among the other teams from the five FIVB confederations will compete. For Africa, five men teams have got a bye to the final round qualification. They are Egypt, Cameroon, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.

For the women team, hosts Italy are granted automatic qualification. Continental governing bodies were allocated the remaining 23 spots.

Africa was granted two, Asia four, North America six, South America two, and Europe ten places.

- Xinhua

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