The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda Qualifies to World Cup

RWANDA Junior National team defied odds to secure a berth at this year's FIVB Men's 21 World Championships which will be held in Ankara and Izmir, Turkey from August 22 to September 1, 2013.

Rwanda beat Algeria 3-1 [25-19], [25-13], [16-25] and 25-22] to sail through to the semi finals of the Africa championship yesterday in Tunisia.

Bonnie Mutabazi, Samuel Niyogisubizo 'Tyson', Nelson and skipper Aimable Mutuyimana are some of the players who impressed as Rwanda frustrated Algeria to win the decisive game.

The youthful team beat Congo Brazzaville in the opening game last Saturday before losing 0-3 last saturday to Tunisia in the second group game on Sunday. They bounced back strongly to boost their hopes of making the last four with a 3-0 victory over Sierra Leone on Tuesday.

Rwanda under Kenyan-born experienced coach Paul Bitok will face Egypt in the last four on Friday as hosts and defending champions Tunisia play Morocco in the other game.

The U-21 team has emulated their juniors who qualified for the U-17 World Cup which will be held in Mexico later this year after finishing fourth in the African tournament held in Algeria in January.

The Men's Junior African Nations Championship is considered the biggest between all the age group competitions attracting the biggest number of participants in Africa.

The deserved victory meant that Rwanda qualified to the global showpiece alongside hosts Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt as Africa's representatives following their qualification to the semi finals.

The World Championship provides a platform for the next generation of stars to showcase their skills on the international stage and potentially take the big step into the giant world of the senior ranks.

The competition features a revised format having been expanded from 16 to 20 teams, made up of the hosts and 19 qualifiers.

Russia are the defending champions after their success in Brazil in 2011, their eighth in 11 appearances in the competition. They will face a double South American threat - from Argentina and Brazil - as well as from fellow Europeans, Serbia, Poland and Italy.

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