|Al-Ahram Weekly Online
24 - 30 May 2001
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Cup of a different colourFOR THE first time, Egypt's volleyball cup is neither white nor red. It's orange, reports Abeer Anwar
Coming back from two sets down, Al-Shams beat Al-Geish -- and the odds -- 16-25, 17-25, 25-19, 25-18, 23-21. Never before had the volleyball cup ventured outside Ahli or Zamalek's trophy halls.
photos: Mohamed Moss'ad
But the cup went elsewhere on Friday in the final at Cairo Stadium's indoor hall. Al-Geish won the first and second sets but relaxed in the third, allowing Al-Shams back into the game. Al-Shams, taken for dead just a short while earlier, sprang to life and swept the next three sets to win 3-2. The victory not only capped a remarkable comeback but a dramatic turnaround from last season in which the team came in third place in the cup and seventh in the league.
Of assistance to Al-Shams was the decision taken by the Egyptian Volleyball Federation to have the cup matches played without national team players who are busy preparing for the World Cup qualifications taking place next month in Cairo. The absence of big-name players cost clubs like Ahli and Zamalek, whose rosters are brimming over with stars. Ahli bowed out in the quarter-finals while Zamalek could manage only third place after beating Tersana 3-1. On the other hand, lower-profile squads like Al-Shams entered the cup with teams fairly intact.
"I'm very happy with the win especially since our opponents won the first two sets," Al-Shams coach Fouad Abdel-Salam said after the match. Conversely, Mohamed Farag, Al-Geish's helmsman, was bitterly disappointed. "We should have won because we were better at the beginning but the players were overconfident," Farag said.
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