CAIRO: Egypt will be looking for their second victory in volleyball’s World League when they host North American powerhouse, USA, Friday and Saturday in Cairo Stadium after seven consecutive losses.
On the other hand, the US team, visiting the African continent for the first time, will be looking for a much needed victory to knock Russia, who will be playing Finland in Finland, from the top of Pool C.
"I am very happy because we now have the chance to play against Olympic champions USA, and put our abilities as a team to the test," Antonio Jeacobbe, Egyptian team’s coach, told Daily News Egypt.
The USA currently stands in second place with five victories and three losses.
The Egyptian team started their campaign in Pool C with a 3-2 victory over Finland in Helsinki before losing against the same team 3-1; the team then traveled to Moscow where they lost their two matches against Russia 3-1 and 3-2, despite two solid performances.
However, their visit to the USA wasn’t as remarkable losing their two matches against the home team 3-1; the losing streak continued when they hosted the Russian team in Cairo last week after poor performances resulting in quick 3-0 losses in both matches.
"We are playing against the third ranked team Russia and Olympic champions USA; they have a technical and physical advantage over us so we have to be on top form all the time or else we can’t play," Jeacobbe said.
"In the last two games against Russia, the team was very tired due to constant traveling from one country to the other but now everything is under control," he added.
According to Aly El Sirgany, head of the Egyptian Volleyball Federation, the main objective of participating in the World League is to prepare for the World Cup in Italy next October.
"We have achieved a lot of our technical objectives and introduced new players to the team; our chances are high to win the remaining games and that’s what we tell our players," he said.
World League is an intercontinental competition in which 16 teams, pooled in four groups, compete over a period of eight weeks playing four games, two home and two away, with a total of 12 games for each team.
A team gets three points for 3-0 and 3-1 victories while the loser gets no points; in case of a 3-2 victory the winner gets two points while the loser gets one point.
The winners of each group, the second best ranked team as well as the host nation, Argentina, qualify to the final round in which teams are divided into two pools of three teams, each playing in a round-robin system.
The top two teams of each pool advance to crossed semi-finals and final matches.
Egypt had to go through qualifying rounds against Iran in which it won both matches 3-0 in Cairo before hosting Japan and beating them 3-1 in both matches to earn their ticket to the World League.
"Our participation is very important to test new players because we never get the chance to gather the team often," Jeacobbe said.
Egypt, current champions of Africa, has dominated the African volleyball scene for the past five years winning all possible trophies and qualifications both on club and international levels as well as participating regularly in the world Grand Prix comprising the champions of the six continents.