Kenya conquers Africa!
Kenya’s national women’s volleyball team held off a fighting Algeria to clinch a record ninth continental crown in an exciting final of the CAVB Women’s Africa Nations Championships at the Safaricom Indoor Arena in Nairobi on Saturday.
The host team triumphed 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-18) to secure their place at the FIVB World Cup set for Japan in September.
In a curtain raiser match played earlier on at the same venue, Cameroon edged Senegal 3-2 (25-19, 23-25, 14-25, 25-13, 17-15) to finish third.
The Kenyan team players also walked away with a treasure trove of individual awards at the ten day event.
Everylne Makuto was voted the tournament’s most valuable player (MVP), Janet Wanja (best setter), Ruth Jepngetich (best blocker) and Elizabeth Wanyama (best libero).
“We fought hard for all this, God is great,” Makuto said.
Senegal’s Fatou Diock was voted the best attacker with the best receiver’s award going to Algeria’s Basokou Abrouche.
The 82 minute contest was played before an estimated 7,000 crowd that had squeezed in to the 5,000 capacity facility that included Sports Cabinet Secretary Dr Hassan Wario.
David Lung’aho’s charges endured anxious moments in the final set when the North Africans, led by Mezmate Aicha and Oukazi Fatima raced to a 18-14 lead.
It took the technical bench’s intervention, and the subsequent introduction of Jane Wanja and Triza Atuka to salvage the situation.
“Am the happiest Kenyan alive today, we deserved this victory all through but it wasn’t by fluke. I thank to my assistants Japheth Munala and Esther Jepkosegei, the federation, the government and our fans,” Lung’aho said.
Algeria’s Italian coach François Salvagni was gracious conceding that her team lost to a stronger opponent.
“Kenya is very superior at the moment and even though I was missing two dependable players, I think we cannot dislodge them for atleast the next one year,” Salvagni said.
The first and second sets were formally straight forward for Kenya with captain Brackides Agala, Moim and Makuto running the show.