Still champions

Abeer Anwar , Tuesday 7 May 2024

In a thrilling final showdown, Zamalek’s women’s volleyball team clinched the 37th African Clubs Championship for the second consecutive year, reports Abeer Anwar

Zamalek s women s volleyball team


The team’s stellar performance culminated in a hard-fought victory over Egyptian rivals Ahly, with a final scoreline of 3-2. The triumph not only marks a back-to-back championship win but also secures Zamalek’s spot in the upcoming Club World Cup.

After winning the gold medal, Zamalek will now represent Africa at the Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship in December.

Zamalek’s African win, held at Ahly Club’s indoor hall, saw intense competition with each set swinging the momentum back and forth. Ahly started strong, taking the first set with a narrow 29-27. However, Zamalek swiftly turned the tables, dominating the next set 25-18. Ahly responded, claiming the third set 25-13. But Zamalek rallied, winning the fourth set 25-21 and ultimately sealing their victory with a close 15-13 win in the fifth set.

Key players shone throughout the tournament, with Maryam Metwalli from Zamalek winning best player. Milka Lopeska da Silva, a Brazilian player for Zamalek, came fourth in the same category. Dana Shoukri, a vital member of Zamalek’s squad, also received recognition as the Best Setter in Africa.

The coaching staff, led by head coach Ahmed Mustafa and technical director Ahmed Fathi, played a crucial role in guiding the team to success. Mustafa expressed his delight at winning the championship for the second year in a row, attributing the victory to the team’s exceptional effort and dedication.

Shoukri echoed Mustafa’s sentiments, expressing joy at being part of Zamalek and dedicating the title to the club’s passionate fans. The team’s captain Yasmine Noah announced her retirement following the championship win, capping off a remarkable 28-year journey with Zamalek.

Nayera Al-Ahmar, a board member of Zamalek club overseeing the women’s volleyball team, praised the team’s determination and resilience, highlighting their ability to bounce back from challenges and secure the African title once again.

Fathi emphasised that the championship win was a testament to Zamalek’s resurgence and commitment to reclaiming its position at the top of the volleyball scene. He dedicated the victory “to the loyal Zamalek fans whose unwavering support fueled the team’s success”.

On the sidelines, Egyptian Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi received Bouchra Hajij, president of the African Volleyball Confederation and Yasser Qamar, president of the Egyptian Volleyball Federation Volleyball. Sobhi welcomed Hajij in Egypt, affirming Egypt’s full support for the confederation during her presidency.

Sobhi noted that Africa now has a large base of volleyball players at the men’s and women’s levels as well as at the junior level. He said Egypt had also stood out “for the huge development of sports facilities and infrastructure which has greatly contributed to the hosting of major sporting events thanks to the big support of political leaders”.

Hajij expressed “great satisfaction and gratitude for the warmth of the welcome” during her stay in Egypt. She said the main objective was to raise the level of volleyball in Africa to be on par with its counterparts in other continents and other developed countries in the world of volleyball. Sobhi also invited Hajij to the new administrative capital to see the Egyptian Olympic city “which is a source of pride for Egyptians”.

In return, Hajij invited Sobhi to the African beach volleyball championship in June in Tetouan, Morocco, which qualifies for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.


* A version of this article appears in print in the 9 May, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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