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Kenya volleyball team targets top spot in All Africa Games qualifiers

Newly appointed national women volleyball team captain Janet Wanja is confident that the team will finish top of the Zone 5 All Africa Games qualifiers in Kampala next week.

Kenya has been pooled alongside bitter rivals Egypt, hosts Uganda, Ethiopia and Burundi, in the race to secure the two automatic qualification slots for the All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville in September.

Rwanda and Tanzania have withdrawn from the competition owing to a lack of funds.

The battle between Kenya and Egypt is certain to dominate this week-long tournament that will commence at the Lugogo indoor arena next Tuesday.

But Wanja, who has been named captain in the absence of Brackcides Agala, says the team has fine tuned its tactics and is ready to counter its main threat.

“We have trained so hard on service and reception in the past few weeks so as to contain the North Africans. These are areas we are traditionally weak at, and in which they continuously exploit,” the 32 year old, who was last month named the continent’s best setter at the Women Africa Club Championships in Egypt told Nairobi News.

DEPENDABLE PLAYER

Agala together with another dependable player Jane Wacu will miss this competition owing to club commitments in France.

Regardless, coach David Lung’aho is optimistic that in Joy Luseneka and Triza Atuka, he has able replacements  for the two senior players in both the setter and blocker roles.

“Our target is to qualify as winners and this is the best placed squad to achieve this. We expect stiff competition from all the teams taking part especially Uganda, who have improved significantly in the past year,” Lung’aho said.

Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) Chairman Waithaka Kioni and the team sponsors National Oil Corporation of Kenya Corporate Affairs Manager Temesi Mukani have in the meantime assured the team of their support in what promises to be a busy calendar year.

Kenya is also set to compete at the Africa Cup of Nations, FIVB Grand Prix and World Cup qualifiers this year.

Travelling squad – Setters: Janet Wanja (captain, Kenya Pipeline), Joy Luseneka (Kenya Prisons), Left attackers: Mercy Moim (Kenya Prisons), Noel Murambi (Kenya Pipeline), Monica Biama (Kenya Pipeline), Everlyne Makuto (Kenya Prisons), Right attackers: Lydia Maiyo (Kenya Prisons), Esther Wangeci (Kenya Pipeline), Blockers: Ruth Jepngetich (Kenya Pipeline), Triza Atuka (Kenya Prisons), Edith Wisa (Kenya Prisons), Esther Wangeci (Kenya Pipeline)

Technical bench: David Lung’aho (Coach) Japheth Munala and Esther Jepkosgei (Assistant coaches) Alex Mwendia (Team doctor)

Team manager/Head of delegation: Martin Makokha