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Kenyan volleyball team warned of North African threat

The national women volleyball team’s technical bench remains wary of the threat posed by North African sides in the Olympic Games qualifiers that begin next week.

The African Queens are hoping to join the national men and women rugby seven teams in securing qualification to Rio game in August.

To achieve this, the reigning African champions will first have to navigate a tricky qualification competition that will brings together ten other countries, among them Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Algeria.

Other nations competing in the qualifiers slated to serve off in Yaoundé, next Friday, are hosts Cameroon, Uganda, Botswana and Senegal.

“The North Africans have been our biggest competitors in recent times and the expectation is that this trend will continue at the qualifiers,” former national team coach David Lung’aho said during an interview with Nairobi News.

Lung’aho, who is currently Kenya Volleyball Federation’s technical director, however said the team is seeking out ways to counter the opposition by studying their playing patterns as the tournament progresses.

KENYA’S DOMINANCE

Kenya lost out to Tunisia on home soil for the sole qualification berth to the FIVB Women World Championship in 2013. Regardless, the team has largely dominated the North African teams in recent times.

Last year Egypt, Algeria and Morocco were all victims of the dominant Kenyan ladies at various continental and global tournament.

The team, under veteran coach Japheth Munala, has stepped up preparations for the qualifiers and are hoping to reach the global event for the first time in more than a decade.

On Monday the team, featuring two French based stars Everlyne Makuto and Jane Wacu, lost 3-0 (21-25, 22-25 and 20-25) in a friendly match against a select team of men players featuring in the KVF top flight league.

Makuto, Wacu, captain Mercy Moim, her assistant Noel Murambi, libero Elizabeth Wanyama and veteran attacker Lydia Maiyo are some of the most experienced players in the team.

Full squad: Joy Luseneka, Jane Wacu, Lydia Maiyo, Gaudencia Makokha, Mercy Moim, Everlyne Makuto, Noel Murambi, Monica Biama, Edith Wisa, Joan Chelagat, Violet Makuto, Triza Atuka, Elizabeth Wanyama, Leonida Kasaya, Agripina Kundu