Having played four matches and won three in the first two days of African qualification competition for Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Salone women’s beach volleyball team is assured of living to play another day. The final day of competition arrived with Sierra Leone in pole position to win gold but, nothing was certain as host Guinea had pulled a shocking result against Sierra Leone on the second day of competition. Guinea’s 2-1 win over Sierra Leone made it two out of two for Guinea and they needed to win all two matches (against Cape Verde and Mali) on the final day of competition to stand any chance of winning gold due to their terrible point ratio. Cape Verde had a hurdle to cross before the Guinea game in the shape of Gambia and they overcame Gambia by 2-1. The win against Gambia made it two wins for Cape Verde out of three and their blip was against Sierra Leone who suffocated them by a 2-0 result. With both teams (Cape Verde & Guinea) on two wins each, it was down to a mental game of the athletes to determine who gets to three wins first between the two. The stage was set and both teams were fired up. Guinea was fighting to win gold and be crowned as champions and Cape Verde fighting for qualification in to the next rounds of qualifiers.
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Guinea drew first blood by winning 2-0 when their Team 1 faced Cape Verde Team 2 in a very tight match to silence the Cape Verde contingent who were backed by Sierra Leone’s delegation. The Sierra Leone contingent knowing that a defeat for Guinea will see them crowned as champions without touching a ball on the final day of competition became the cheerleaders for Cape Verde. Cape Verde responded brilliantly and before long, it was 2-0 to Cape Verde Team 1 against Guinea Team 2 to set up a grand golden match Guinea, who have been accustomed to golden matches in the competition, knew that it was going to come to that as their team 2 offered nothing against Cape Verde Team 1. Both countries sent out their first Teams for the golden match. Cape Verde won by a comfortable 15-11. The defeat for Guinea ensured that Sierra Leone is crowned as champions of Zone 2. Guinea went on to win the last match against Mali 2-1 to secure a spot in the next rounds of qualifiers and silver medal.
Final standings: Sierra Leone, Cape Verde, Guinea, Gambia and Mali
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