The Egyptian national team lines up before the gold medal match against Algeria (Photo: CAVB)

Egypt's men’s national team will head to Tokyo to compete at the Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament later this month as the new African champions as the Pharaohs triumphed in the 2023 edition of the tournament, which they hosted in the country’s capital Cairo.

The Egyptians managed to return to the top of the podium at the continental level for the first time since 2015 and secured their ninth title, the second-highest mark in African men’s volleyball, only behind Tunisia’s 11.

  • Watch all the matches of the Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament on VBTV.

To take the title and end Tunisia’s dominance in the continent, which had them winning the last three editions of the event, Egypt prevailed over 14 other African nations in the ten-day tournament. They secured the title with five wins in six matches and got revenge on Algeria, who had defeated them in pool play, with a 3-1 (25-22, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22) victory in the gold medal match, on Wednesday.

The champions also had the Most Valuable Player of the tournament in setter Abdalla Hossam. The 35-year-old Hossam made it to the tournament’s Dream Team alongside opposite Ahmed Ikhbayri (Libya), outside hitters Ahmed Shafik (Egypt) and Sofiane Hosni (Algeria), middle blockers Sem Dolegombai (Cameroon) and Abdelrahman Seoudy (Egypt) and libero Achouri Ilyas (Algeria).

The tournament also marked the international retirement of Egypt’s longtime opposite Ahmed ‘Salah’ Abdelhay, who was with the team in their victory at the African Championship back in 2009 and played at the Beijing 2008 and Rio 2016 Olympics. The 39-year-old player lifted the trophy at the end of the tournament.

Libya finished in third place and made their first podium appearance since 1979 and second overall following a 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-15) win over Cameroon in the bronze medal match.

The two African representatives at the Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Egypt and Tunisia, which finished fifth in the continental tournament, are both in Pool B and will face Japan, the United States, Slovenia, Serbia, Türkiye and Finland in Tokyo from September 30-October 8. The two best teams in the event will secure a spot at the next year’s Paris Olympics.

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